Catholic League football roundup

John Knebels
Special to The CS&T

Bonner 49, Judge 17
Before Monsignor Bonner’s contest with Father Judge, several senior Friars were talking about avenging last year’s 37-0 loss.

Consider it avenged.

With Eric Petransky enjoying a career performance behind a dominating offensive line, the Friars emerged with a stunning 49-17 victory. The senior running back rumbled for five touchdowns from distances of 48, 9, 17, 34 and 68 yards. He finished with 262 yards on 22 carries.

Teammate Sean Quarterman added a 57-yard scoring pass to Jack Wichmann while Jamie Juisti scored on an 81-yard punt return. Three interceptions and two fumble recoveries (both by senior Pat Flynn) aided the Friars’ defense. For the Crusaders, Curt Wortham rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown while junior Nick Myers added an 87-yard score on a kickoff return.

Roman Catholic 19, Ryan 7
In a rain-slogged battle between two ultimately wet and muddied opponents, Roman Catholic avoided an upset bid by Archbishop Ryan and emerged with a 19-7 triumph.

The Cahillites chewed up most of the clock throughout the game, though a touchdown by junior Dennis Regan was all they could muster by halftime. Ryan linebacker Tony Vendetti spurred on the Raiders’ defense, and a blocked punt by Mike DiLeo led to a touchdown run by Mark Golic to tie the game late in the second quarter.

With the score tied 7-7 in the fourth quarter, Roman’s Corey Brunson recovered a fumble in the end zone to give the Cahillites a 13-7 lead. A scoring run by Calvin Garvin added insurance as Roman raised its league record to 3-1.

North 19, Conwell-Egan 15
Vying for Performance of the Week honors was North Catholic’s Eugene Byrd, who established a school record when he gained 273 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Falcons’ 19-15 win over Conwell-Egan. Every bit of Byrd’s electrifying treat was needed for North, which barely held on as the Eagles, behind athletic quarterback Anthony Singlar, penetrated the Falcons’ five-yard line in the closing seconds. But the defense of senior linebackers Bob Butler (10 tackles) and David Williams (13 tackles, four for losses) saved the day for North Catholic.

West Catholic 28, McDevitt 12
West Catholic’s 28-12 win over Bishop McDevitt clinched the Burrs’ fourth straight spanision title (two in the former Catholic Blue and two in spanision AA). One-yard touchdown runs by senior Jarred Evans and Joshua Mathis supplied a two-score lead for the Burrs. Evans then found junior Brandon Hollomon for a touchdown pass to make it 21-0. To the Lancers’ credit, they refused to fold, as junior Matt Conroy scored on a five-yard run and junior Gary Postell added another TD from six yards out. But a 28-yard score by Hollomon with 2:56 left in the game cemented West’s spanision-clinching victory.

St. Joe’s Prep 21, O’Hara 14
St. Joseph’s Prep’s rain-soaked, 21-14 victory Saturday night over Cardinal O’Hara at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School receives last billing not because it was the least important result of the week, but because, well, sometimes it really does make sense to save the best for last.

Both teams entered the game undefeated at 3-0 in the AAAA spanision. The Prep had outscored their league opponents 107-45 while the Lions had done so at an even more impressive 108-20 clip. Overall, the Hawks were 5-1 and the Lions, who still had yet to play 6-1 juggernaut La Salle, were 7-0.

This appeared to be heading toward an O’Hara victory – notice we don’t use the term “upset,” even though to most Prep fans, a win was, as always, expected. But the Lions had served notice, especially on defense, that they were a bona fide force in the Catholic League. A win over the Hawks would have propelled them into sole possession of first place and a better chance to avoid having to play both the Prep and La Salle in the Catholic League playoffs.

That’s where the game was headed in the fourth quarter. O’Hara had turned a 13-7 deficit into a 14-13 lead when, following a special teams gaffe, junior quarterback Ryan Laughlin uncorked a perfectly thrown 20-yard fade pass to star running back and Ohio State University-bound Corey Brown in the corner of the end zone. Senior Mike Granata boomed the extra point, and with only 2:46 left in regulation, the O’Hara crowd was on its feet.

But not for long.

With 1:38 remaining, a punt by Casey Strus pinned the Prep down at its own 21. Since the Hawks’ kicking game has not been consistent, not to mention the awful weather, it would probably take a touchdown to pull off the dramatic comeback.

Four completed passes by sophomore QB Skylar Mornhinweg, including a 21-yarder on fourth and 10 to senior Colin Rodgers, orchestrated a go-ahead score with only 30.4 seconds left. The other three passes went to senior Pete Hurley, highlighted by the wining heave from 35 yards out.

Unbelievably, O’Hara somehow advanced all the way to the Prep 17 with less than four seconds remaining before the Hawks’ defense iced the triumph.

The win basically secured first place for the Prep and sets up what promises to be a heated battle for the AAAA title against either La Salle or O’Hara. It took late-game dramatics for the Prep to defeat both of those teams; one wonders if the Hawks can find additional ways to beat either of those squads again.

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