Bishop McDevitt’s defending PIAA Class 4A champions bookended their season opener at Rocco Ortenzio Stadium on a sticky August 25 with unmatched excitement.
The first came just moments before the Crusaders stormed the field, as the school unveiled its 2022 state-championship banner, elevated above the north endzone, before a sizable home crowd.
The second came with 5:16 remaining in the fourth quarter, as Rico Scott busted free on a 42-yard touchdown pass from Stone Saunders to seal a come-from-behind win against Baltimore’s Mount St. Joseph, 20-14.
Mount St. Joseph’s Gaels, ranked ninth in the state of Maryland heading into the game, went toe-to-toe with the Crusaders; opening drives on both sides of the field yielded no score after the first quarter.
Late in the second, two consecutive runs by Leon Parson led the Crusaders deep into Gaels’ territory, and helped pave the way for Saunders to throw McDevitt’s first touchdown of the season to Nevan Hopkins. When the Crusaders took a 6-0 lead into halftime after a blocked extra point, it was clear that the game was anyone’s to be had.
Through the third quarter, it seemed as though Mount St. Joseph was going to thwart McDevitt’s opening night, as the Gaels took control with a 37-yard touchdown and then recovered a Crusader fumble for a second TD just minutes later to go up 14-6.
But Crusader head coach Jeff Weachter rallied his defending champs to answer the Gaels’ challenge. Scott’s two touchdowns – the first after a successful fourth-and-28 conversion – and a staunch defensive stand led by Nick Slogik and Chase Regan secured the win.
“We were down in the fourth quarter but we came back as a team,” Regan told the media after the game. “That just means the world to me, that we came together as a team.”
(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness