McDevitt Rolls on, 47-14 over Red Land
October 30th- Senior Day at McDevitt Field is always an emotional day, and this year was no different. Crusader fans said farewell to a dozen seniors from this year's team this morning, and the players made sure that they would have pleasant memories of the game by blasting Red Land, 47-14. It was the fifth straight win for McDevitt, and set up the season-ending next week against rival Harrisburg. For the second week in a row the Crusader defense posted a score, junior linebacker Brock Dean doing the honors this week with an acrobatic interception in the first quarter. It was one of 3 picks by the rapidly-improving McDevitt “D”, which constantly harassed Red Land's offense. On offense it was the usual suspects for the home team leading the way: senior running back Jameel Poteat and senior quarterback Matt Johnson. Poteat tallied a career-high 5 touchdowns, while Johnson threw for 2 scores, including a Houdini-like escape act that has become his specialty. The end result was 430 yards of offense and victory #7.
The game began with McDevitt receiving the opening kickoff and junior Darnell Holland returning it 10 yards to the McD 34. On third down Johnson rolled out and fired a long completion to sophomore receiver Brian Lemelle, but it was ruled that Johnson was over the line of scrimmage when he threw the ball so McDevitt was forced to punt. Starting at the RL 37, the Patriots tried 2 running plays with no success. On third down Red Land quarterback Kyle Biddle threw a swing pass into the left flat. Dean was covering on the play and reached back to intercept the ball. Pirouetting like a ballerina, the 210 pound junior sprinted down the sideline to finish the 39 yard scoring play and stake McDevitt to a 7-0 lead, with 9:47 left in the first quarter. The kickoff that followed was returned to the McDevitt 40, with sophomore kicker Connor Maloney making the touchdown-saving tackle. Two plays later Biddle hooked up with Devin Howard for a 31 yard gain, to the McD 5. The McDevitt defense then rose to the occasion, stopping two Nick Diller runs. On third down junior cornerback Devacio McGowan swatted away a Biddle pass and Biddle's fourth down attempt was also unsuccessful, so McDevitt took over on downs at the 1. Poteat had a 2 yard run and followed with a burst over tackle Tom Skelly into open field. Poteat fumbled while switching hands, though, and the Patriots recovered at the McD 43. It looked like Red Land was to be denied again when the Patriots lined up to punt from the McD 39, three plays later, but punter Spencer Gay threw a 14 yard punt to Howard to keep the drive alive. Diller scooted into the end zone from 25 yards out on the next play and the visitors had tied the score at 7, with 4:36 left in the first quarter. Khalid Carter's 9 yard kickoff return then gave McDevitt good field position at the McD 33. Johnson began the drive with a 2 yard pass to Carter, followed by an 11 yard Johnson scramble. Poteat began to get in rhythm by ripping off consecutive runs of 11,10,9,12, 6 and 6 yards. After a play with offsetting penalties and an incomplete pass, Johnson targeted Holland with a screen pass, and the versatile junior fought for a 10 yard gain, to the RL 1. Poteat scored on the next play and, after Maloney's successful PAT, McDevitt had a 14-7 lead. Hershey Returned the following kickoff to the RL 22 and ran a yardless play as the first quarter ended.
The second quarter began as a punting contest, with the Patriots booting to McDevitt and the Crusaders returning the favor. Red Land punted again and it looked like McDevitt would score after a 35 yard Johnson-to-Carter hookup netted 35 yards, to the RL 20. But Johnson followed a sack with a rare interception, and the Patriots took possession at the RL 30. Junior defensive end Noah Spence then sacked Biddle for a 9 yard loss, and consecutive penalties pushed the Patriots back to the RL 11. When Biddle tried to pass out of trouble junior cornerback Maurice Jeter intercepted and returned the pick to the RL 5. Poteat blasted over the goal line two plays later and the McDevitt advantage had grown to 21-7. The Patriots managed a first down on the next possession but were soon forced to punt from the RL 35. Lemelle took the punt at the McD 30 and cruised 70 yards for an apparent touchdown, but a block-in-the-back penalty brought the ball back to the McD 45. With time running out before half, Johnson went to work. First it was a 15 yard dart to senior Courtney Mack, followed by a 17 yarder to speedy junior Shawn Seif. Senior Nick Barowski was Johnson's next target, and the burly fullback fought for an 8 yard gain, to the RL 15. After an incomplete pass Johnson faked a handoff to Holland and fumbled the ball. Undeterred, the unflappable senior scooped up the ball and pitched to Poteat, who strolled in for a 15 yard touchdown with 48 seconds left in the first half. The McDevitt coaching staff had seen an imbalance in the way Red Land lined up against kicks, so the diminutive Maloney was sent scurrying around right end on a fake kick. Alas, the soph was flattened short of the goal line and the half time score remained 27-7.
The second half started with another failed Red Land drive, this one stunted by an 11 yard sack by junior linebacker Allan Holman. The punt that followed rolled dead at the McD 42, and three plays later the Crusaders were still there, so Johnson dropped into punt formation. After hesitating for a moment Johnson took off around right end and didn't stop until he had gained 30 yards and a first down at the RL 28. Three plays later McDevitt was facing a 4th-and-1, at the RL 19. Poteat followed Barowski through the tiring Red Land line and ran in for the touchdown. Maloney's kick that followed staked the Crusaders to a 34-7 lead, but the Patriots weren't about to quit. Starting at the RL 30 after the kickoff, Diller ran for 24 yards before Biddle hooked up with Gay for a 46 yard touchdown, with 6:07 left in the 3rd quarter. With the score now 34-14, Red Land elected to try an on side kick and were rewarded when they recovered at midfield. Spence quickly changed momentum by promptly sacking Biddle for a 15 yard loss. After junior safety Myles Williams broke up a third down pass, Red Land punted to the McD 36 and Seif danced 24 yards on the return. A 10 yard pass play from Johnson to Lemelle was halved by a holding penalty before Johnson turned in the play of the game. Starting from the RL 46, Johnson took the snap from under junior center Kyree Ross and dropped back to pass. With the Red Land rush closing in, Johnson took a few steps to his right and then bolted to the left. His escape route was soon closed off, so Johnson headed back to his right, ducking under a would-be tackler while leaving a defender sprawled on the ground and another clutching air. With a lineman in hot pursuit and another approaching head-on, Johnson looked up and saw Poteat, about 5 yards past the line of scrimmage. Johnson threw the ball to Poteat just before being buried under three Patriots. Poteat gathered in the accurate pass and raced untouched down the right sideline to complete the dazzling scoring play. Now leading 40-14, the Crusaders forced another short Red Land possession, thanks to another Spence sack. Lemelle had another fine return (25 yards) spoiled by a blocking penalty, as the Crusaders regained possession at the McD 32 in the waning moments of the third quarter. Lemelle took a Johnson pass for a 10 yard gain before the senior field general flipped a short toss to Seif, circling out of the backfield. Seif followed Lemelle's block, split two defenders at the line of scrimmage and raced 58 yards for the game's final touchdown. Maloney's PAT made the score 47-14, McDevitt, with 22 seconds left in the quarter.
Red Land began the final stanza with a time-consuming, 10 play drive that penetrated to the McD 23, but a timely sack by junior Jayraun Smith halted the advance. By this time the McDevitt bench began emptying, and freshman Rashad Lawson and sophomore Malyk Harris took over the ballcarrying duties. The Crusaders advanced to the RL 42 before surrendering the ball on downs, only to regain possession two plays later on junior Dan Gebhard's fumble recovery. When Red Land took over four plays later, freshman Nate Monroe turned in McDevitt's third interception of the morning to cap a successful Senior Day.
Next Saturday, November 6th, the Crusaders will march 2 blocks north on Market Street for the annual game against the Harrisburg Cougars. The game is scheduled to start at 2:00 PM.
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