Crusaders Drill Mechanicsburg, 40-10
October 16- The Bishop McDevitt Crusaders moved to 5-2 on the year with a 40-10 victory over the Mechanicsburg Wildcats on Homecoming Day today at McDevitt Field. The Crusaders blew out to a 14-0 lead and then saw the offense go flat, stymied by mistakes and penalties, not to mention an inspired Wildcat defense. Things improved in the fourth quarter, as McDevitt managed to string together a number of scoring drives. The defense, on the other hand, dominated the Mechanicsburg offense, surrendering 2 lengthy plays all afternoon and eliminating the Wildcat running game. Special mention should be made of the Crusader secondary, a unit that has improved weekly and now looks motivated and spirited.
Mechanicsburg, a huge underdog entering the game, shocked the Homecoming crowd by scoring in two plays. First, the opening kickoff was returned 59 yards by Tyler Botchie to the McD 23. Then senior quarterback James Rusenko lofted a scoring pass to Botchie, who had slipped behind the Crusader secondary. Twenty seconds had elapsed on the game clock and Mechanicsburg had a 7-0 lead. McDevitt received the ensuing kickoff and went nowhere, leading to a 43 yard punt by senior quarterback Matt Johnson. The Crusader defense finally awoke and forced the first of many 3-and-outs, leading to a punt to the McD 36. The 64 yard scoring drive that followed consisted of short Johnson passes and tough runs by senior running back Jameel Poteat. Johnson kick-started the drive with a short pass to Sean Seif that the speedy sophomore turned into a 20 yard gain. Poteat rumbled for 10 yards before Seif hauled in a 6 yarder. Poteat ran for 11 yards, and then 2 more, to the MECH 15. Johnson then lofted a pass to sophomore Brian Lemelle, who fought for a 13 yard gain. The Wildcats put up a fight before Poteat bulled over from the 1 and, after the first of Connor Maloney’s 5 successful PAT's, McDevitt had tied the score at 7 with 4:19 left in the first quarter. On the next Mechanicsburg possession Rusenko ran for a 27 yard gain to midfield before junior cornerback Miles Williams intercepted at the McD 21. The Johnson-Lemelle connection was good for a 16 yard gain before Poteat followed senior guard Tony Harris and senior fullback Sean Barowski through the left side of the line. Poteat veered to his left and outraced the Wildcat secondary down the left sideline for a splendid 63 yard touchdown run that restored order in the universe and staked McDevitt to a 14-7 lead. The McDevitt defense forced another 3-and-out on the next Mechanicsburg series and a slippery 45 yard punt return by Seif had the Crusaders poised to score again. Johnson was sacked for a 10 yard loss, however, and when senior Matt Boland couldn't hang on to Johnson's 4th down bullet in the end zone, the Wildcats took over on downs. Barowski then rampaged into the Mechanicsburg backfield from his linebacker spot and dropped Rusenko for a safety, giving McDevitt a 16-7 lead with 11:15 left in the first half. Lawson took the kick that followed and broke off a 21 yard return, to the MECH 36. Johnson scrambled for 11 yards to move the chains on 3rd down and a short pass to Seif gained another first down at the MECH 10. Three more runs could only produce 5 yards, so the reliable Maloney booted a 22 yard field goal to stretch the McDevitt lead to 22-7. Another McDevitt kickoff, another Wildcat 3-and-out and punt and the Crusaders took over at the McD 35. Two plays later Seif fumbled a Johnson pass and Mechanicsburg recovered at the McD 39. Junior Noah Spence promptly sacked Rusenko for a 9 yard loss, forcing another Wildcat punt to the McD 20. From there the 2 teams traded punts until the end of the half, as McDevitt’s offense lost focus but its defense remained impassable.
The third quarter began as the second quarter ended, with neither team able to move the ball and punts sailed through the brisk October air every four plays or so. Halfway through the quarter Spence flattened Rusenko on a pass attempt and junior Frank Rubinic took over for the Wildcats. Rubinic livened things up a series later when he found junior Ryan Greene on a screen pass and Green sailed 55 yards, to the McD 11. Rubinic was promptly dropped for a 4 yard loss before junior Maurice Jeter broke up a long pass attempt, leading to a 32 yard field goal by Zach Shirilla that trimmed the Crusader lead to 19-10. The Mechanicsburg score seemed to wake up the dormant McDevitt attack. After a motion penalty Johnson found Boland for a 14 yard gain on a key 3rd down play as the 3rd quarter ended, and the junior field general kept the momentum going on the next play with a 29 yard completion to Lemelle, which was halved by a holding penalty. When Johnson’s 29 yard run was trimmed by another holding penalty (McDevitt had 10 penalties for 79 yards, mostly on offense) an undeterred Johnson answered with consecutive completions, a 7 yarder to freshman Rashad Lawson and a 29 yard pass to Lemelle that moved the Crusaders into Wildcat territory. After a 4 yard Poteat blast Johnson swung a pass to Seif in the flat that developed into a 20 yard gain. Poteat then bolted for a 23 yard gain, to the MECH 5. One play later Barowski powered in for the score, giving McDevitt a 26-10 lead. After the Crusader “D” forced another 3-and-out the offense was back in business at the McD 37. Johnson got a great block from the little freshman Lawson en route to a 21 yard run and followed that effort with another 21 yard scramble to the MECH 22. On third down Johnson lofted a soft pass that Poteat hauled in just past the line of scrimmage. Poteat avoided a lukewarm tackle attempt by a Mechanicsburg defender and cruised to his 3rd score of the day. After the following kickoff McDevitt reserves took over and forced the Wildcat’s 9th punt of the game. With sophomore Alec Werner at the helm the backup Crusaders impressively moved down the field in a game-ending 51 yard drive. Lawson chipped in with 24 yards on the first two plays, but this possession featured sophomore running back Malyk Harris. The 171 pounder danced, fought and rumbled his way for the final 27 yards on 6 consecutive carries, the final one a 4 yard blast with 9 seconds remaining on the clock that made the score 40-10.
Next Friday night, October 22nd, McDevitt travels to Hersheypark Stadium to meet the Hershey Trojans. Game time is 7:00 PM
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