Although those speaking for Bishop McDevitt football these days say they have taken it one game at a time this season, the truth is the one game they have been looking forward to all year is the Class 4A PIAA state championship game on December 8 at Cumberland Valley High School under the lights and on TV statewide. It’s this football program’s mission to win a PIAA state championship, and they will face the Quips of Aliquippa, who beat them last December to win it all. McDevitt remembers that loss well enough not to forget that they will have to play a great football game to finally hoist that elusive, coveted trophy they so crave.
In the state semi-final against Crestwood, the Crusaders man-handled the Comets, limiting them to just 22 yards of total offense; much of them gained in the first offensive series when the Comets drove deep into McDevitt territory only to stall on downs. Never again did the Comets threaten the McDevitt defense, which hasn’t given up a touchdown in their last 10-plus quarters of playoff action.
The game, played on a calm, chilly December 2 at Exeter High School just outside Reading, was a 35-0 statement-type victory for the Crusaders. The statement being, if you do not match the Crusaders beef and brawn up front, forget about moving the football with a limited-weapon offense. The Comets’ Single T offense moved like an old 1950s pickup truck loaded with concrete blocks, while McDevitt’s offense was operating like a finely tuned, modern top-down convertible. McDevitt was able to throw the ball at will with the sophomore seasoned arm of Stone Saunders (200 yards), which set up the running game with Marquese Williams (17 carries for 147 yards). Salt in the wounds to the Comets was an 85-yard kickoff return by dynamite explosively fast Rico Scott, which spelled doom for Crestwood early in the second half.
Yet, the Crusaders amassed 165 yards of penalties in a more than chippy game that featured ugly personal fouls and a steady dose of racial taunts that the Crusaders were the victims of. It was an ugly football game that seemed a microcosm of what ills us these days.
“This is what we asked for, this is what we wanted, this is what we worked for,” quarterback Stone Saunders said after the game, which featured no post-game handshake of pleasantries, given the tone that was set. “We’re ready to get back.”
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness