Squire Country boasts an illustrious history of playing great football across ten decades at Delone Catholic, and playing for District 3 championships has become a time-honored tradition come every chilly November.
Not since 2012, however, has Delone Catholic been able to bring the gold hardware back home to Squire Country. One reason is that Steel High has become the obstacle to winning the Class 1A championship. Last season the Squires fell at home to the Rollers, and this year on a wet then cold and breezy Nov.12 at War Memorial Stadium on Cottage Hill in Steelton, the Squires lost 42-20 in a closer game than the scoreboard told.
The Squires converted a sloppy Roller handoff in the first two minutes of the game to jump out to a 7-0 lead. And for much of the first half, the Squires held Steel High’s potent and speedy offense in check. Tied 7-7 with only 30 seconds left in the first half, the Squires played a solid 23 ½ minutes of football to hang with a team that puts speed and quickness at just about every position. It is why Steel High won a state championship last season.
But a shanked punt set up an easy touchdown with just seconds left in the first half, and never again did Delone have momentum in the game. When the Rollers scored on their first possession of the second half to make it 21-7, the air from the Squires collectively was lost in the 20mph breeze whipping across Cottage Hill.
The Squires struggled with their kicking game and also turned the ball over several times. If you’re going to beat Steel High with a seasoned, though still underclassman Alex Zerby at quarterback, the Squires needed to play almost a flawless football game to beat a Roller program also on their home turf.
Delone Catholic controlled the line of scrimmage all game as they usually do, and that too is a tradition in Squire Country. The Squires rarely get beat up front – but miscues that lead to falling behind by a couple of scores puts pressure on their Wing-T counter offense game, which is not designed to dig out of steep deficits in an old, rusty steel town where winning is also a time-honored tradition.
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness