Monday, February 6, 2023

Bishop McDevitt is Money in the Bank Against the Barons of Manheim Central

Last year on Thanksgiving, the Crusaders pitched a shutout against Lampeter-Strasburg in a hard-fought District 3 Class 4A championship game on a cold and windy November night at McDevitt’s Ortenzio Stadium.

This year, while the opponent changed, the result did not as the Crusaders’ defensive shutout another Lancaster County team – the Manheim Central Barons – on a cold and windy November 25 to defend its District 3 championship with a dominant 40-0 win at home.

It was a dominating performance, given the Barons averaged over 40 points a game romping through the regular season and playoffs with ease. Never did the Barons get inside the McDevitt 20-yard line, and except for a feeble field goal attempt down 33-0, Manheim Central never threatened the Crusaders, who now advance to play the Crestwood Comets out of District 2 in the PIAA state semifinals on Friday, December 2.

“We have been on a mission since last December 9,” head coach Jeff Weachter said after the victory. “I thought we would win this game, but not by 40, no way.”

Last season, the Crusaders lost a heartbreaker in the state finals against the Quips of Aliquippa, who again loom in the western bracket in the state semifinals and seem destined to defend their state title come December 8 at Cumberland Valley High School.

The Crusaders were able to run the ball against Manheim Central with ease behind an offensive line that got push all evening. Given the wind was stiff out of the northwest, McDevitt’s potent aerial attack was grounded. But no worries, as the Crusaders rode their horse – senior running back Marquese Williams – who busted three plays for 50-plus yards to doom the Barons. McDevitt has talent at every position, but it is their offensive and defensive fronts that seemingly set the tone for this only-once-beaten team this season. If the saying is true that defense wins championships, then McDevitt seems poised to do something they have not done in the 25 seasons under Coach Weachter – win a state championship behind a stingy defense.

McDevitt’s performance was impressively dominant in every phase of the game, yet the things that seem to haunt the Crusaders capturing that elusive last game win of the season still plague this football program as they have in the past. The Crusaders were off-sides three times on kickoffs; a roughing the passer call was assessed; and an unsportsmanlike flag as well two holding penalties were incurred that ticked the penalty yards over 100 yards for the game. In addition, the Crusaders missed two extra points which, in a game that is a six-touchdown romp, goes mostly unnoticed. Yet, it is these minor miscues that great football teams in the PIAA state-semis and finals can exact a steep price on you to block you from cashing in on your quarter-century championship dream.

(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)

By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness

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