The super season continued for Bishop Shanahan’s football team when it opened up action in the Ches-Mont League National Division Friday, Sept. 16 at West Chester East.
Shanahan (4-0) emerged with a 31-21 victory, and last Friday night they extended their record to 5-0 with a 21-14 win over West Chester Henderson.
Unlike the three games of the season, the Shanahan Eagles did not lead the whole game against East and had to deal with their first deficit of the year. Nevertheless, the players proved to themselves and the coaching staff that they could keep their guard up and come from behind.
“We made mistakes in the first half,” said head coach Paul Meyers. “We corrected them in the second half. We wanted to be 4-0.”
The senior leadership picked it up as the game progressed and that also helped the team to settle down and ultimately seal the win. Shanahan was confident it would remain undefeated.
“There was never doubt in our mind,” said senior quarterback Nick Skulski. “We brought it all together. Defense was amazing.”
Skulski threw for a total of 134 yards on the evening and added 110 yards rushing.
Senior wide receiver Brendan Dearing carried the ball to the 42 yard line to start Shanahan’s second drive of the game. Skulski went three yards into West Chester East territory for another first down. Senior end John Kozinski made a catch at the Vikings’ 20-yard line. Junior running back Andrew Smyth picked up eight yards before Skulski completed a pass to Dearing for a touchdown with 5:10 remaining in the opening quarter.
Shanahan gave up two touchdowns and entered the second quarter trailing, 14-6. They began the new period with great field possession as Skulski carried the ball five yards to East’s 21-yard line. Senior wide receiver Joe Gueriera secured a first down. Skulski went an additional nine yards before completing a touchdown pass to Dearing.
“I knew Nick would find me,” said Dearing. “We knew we could move the ball after that touchdown.”
Looking to tie the game, Skulski successfully passed the ball to Kozinski for the two-point conversion.
With the score still tied, Dearing caught a pass for an interception midway through the quarter at Shanahan’s 28 yard line. Gueriera, Skulski and Smyth all rushed the ball down field but a pass by Skulski became an interception at the Vikings’ 40-yard line.
Defense was strong late in the first half and the Eagles got the ball back with 18 seconds remaining in the half. They began at their own 20 before Skulski took a knee to end the half.
To start the second half the Eagles scored on a John George 31-yard field goal that gave Shanahan a lead they never relinquished.
Senior linebacker Dominic Fusco recovered a fumble at East’s 43-yard line and Shanahan took over. Kozinski picked up a first down at the 10 and set up Smyth’s touchdown run with 5:05 left in the third quarter. George’s kick extended the score to 24-14.
Late in the third quarter, senior defensive back Josh Burke caught a pass for an interception and the Eagles began at the Vikings’ 23-yard line. Smyth picked up a first down before the quarter concluded.
Eight seconds into the fourth quarter, Skulski went four yards for a touchdown and George’s kick was good yet again.
In spite of a 31-21 lead with less than two minutes in regulation, Shanahan knew there was time on the clock. West Chester East got the ball back but Dearing intercepted a pass to ice the game.
“I never want to think it is over,” said Dearing. “I’m going to play every play like the game is on the line.”
The Eagles have a lot to work on in order to continue their winning streak in a long season.
“It’s one week at a time,” said Meyers. “We can be happy with each win.”