Berks Catholic piles up 456 rushing yards against Bishop McDevitt en route to District 3-4A championship

24 November 2017


By Andy Shay:

4th Down Magazine

Berks Catholic knew it had one huge advantage in the run game against a banged up Bishop McDevitt defense Friday afternoon in the District 3 Class 4A championship game.

The Saints wanted to get to the edge against the Crusaders. And McDevitt knew it had to slow down the Saints from getting to the edge.

You final score at Hersheypark Stadium was Berks Catholic 45, Bishop McDevitt 24.

Box score

The Saints had a field day on the edge led by Syracuse recruit Cooper Lutz.

“They did a good job, give them a lot of credit,” Bishop McDevitt coach Jeff Weachter said. “We’ve been a little weak all year on the edge. And we had some of our linemen hurt and that didn’t make it any easier. We didn’t stop it most of the game.”

Lutz paced a rushing attack that piled up a whopping 456 yards with 224 of those yards on only 17 carries and three touchdowns covering 11, 30 and 41 yards.

“We knew coming in we could get to the edge. I just made sure I took it, and it worked,” said Lutz, who also had 5 solo tackles and a TFL on defense. “For us the key we knew was getting past their huge defensive line and getting to the edge. Our emphasis this week was down blocking on their defensive ends and we got to the edge.”

The combination of undefeated Berks Catholic having a field day on the edge and McDevitt’s deep passing game being non-existent put the Saints in the driver’s seat most of the way.

Crusaders junior quarterback Chase Diehl struggled big-time against a solid Berks Catholic secondary. He completed only 12 of 24 passes for 130 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown. Star wideout Nazir Burnett was held in check by Tre Dabney, with some help over the top, and did not have a catch.

McDevitt’s lone shining star on offense was senior running back Qualik Davis. With Berks Catholic committing five guys to defend the Crusaders deep passing game, it left opportunities in the run game and Davis delivered with 116 yards on 22 carries with a pair of touchdowns.

“They took No. 9 out of the game for us. We had some other guys open, we just didn’t see it,” Weachter said. “Qualik ran well and the offensive line did a good job.”

Berks Catholic scored the first four times it had the ball to open up a 28-9 cushion in the second quarter.

The real missed opportunity in this game for the Crusaders was getting off the field on third down. Slowing down this Berks Catholic offense, a machine that pumped out 508 total yards, is hard enough. When a third-and-long opportunity presents itself, you have to get off the field to keep up and McDevitt could not get off the field.

Berks Catholic faced third-and-seven or more yards seven times in the game. And the Saints converted six of them to keep drives alive and continue to pile up points on the scoreboard.

“Those were back breakers for us,” Weachter said. “That put so much pressure on our offense. We have a lot of guys on this team coming back. They are very good. But I’m proud of this team.”

McDevitt’s defense, led by junior LB Dray Donley who had 8.5 tackles and 1.5 TFL’s, made some adjustments in the second half that slowed down the Saints for a short spell in the third quarter.

The final nail in the coffin came late in the third quarter when the Crusaders trailed by only 14 points (31-17) and started a drive at its own 43 with more than 13 minutes remaining to play.

But on the first snap Diehl threw into double coverage and Tyrese Dargan easily picked off the pass at his own 21-yard line. Ten plays and 79 yards later the Saints scored again on a buck sweep on the edge to restore order with a 21-point cushion.