By Andy Shay:
Following an underwhelming and pedestrian first half at West Shore Stadium where the defenses dominated, there was no indication from either team what was to come the next 12 minutes.
Bishop McDevitt and Cedar Cliff combined to score seven touchdowns in the third quarter — McDevitt four and Cliff three. The Crusaders scored all four of theirs on offense. The Colts used the kitchen sink of touchdowns to stay in the game and actually grab a 28-27 lead at one point. Cedar Cliff scored on a fumble recovery in the end zone, an 82-yard kickoff return and did manage one TD on offense. Bishop McDevitt had 231 total yards in the third quarter, and that included a pair of high fumbled snaps that added up to 19 lost yards.
There was even a stretch where the teams traded punches to the tune of five touchdowns in less than four minutes. It was bonkers. In the end, McDevitt had too much firepower and scored the final 13 points to grab a 40-28 victory.
It was rough around the edges, that’s about as kind as I can be. More bluntly there was a lot of ugly. The teams combined for seven turnovers and 21 penalties totaling nearly 175 yards.
Time to hand out some grades.
BISHOP MCDEVITT CRUSADERS
Quarterback: You can see another level of development from senior Lek Powell in terms of shopping around for the open receiver. But if his first read is open, that ball is out with authority and in a hurry. Throws a great deep ball now, too. The heat in his kitchen the first half threw him off a bit. But that third quarter was pure magic. He finished with 330 yards and five touchdowns. He was 9-of-12 for 207 yards and four touchdowns in the third quarter alone. Grade: A-
Running Back: Second game in a row without star Marquese Williams. He is expected back next week. Not having the sophomore means the running game is going to suffer. Dedrick Tinker is a receiver who CAN run the ball in a pinch in space. But his holding onto the football thing is still dodgy at best. In open space he did some damage. Again, Tinker is a wideout, not a running back. Freshman Ty Kephart ran well. Grade: C
Wide Receivers: Three dudes with 91 or more yards and at least one touchdown each. To quote Gus Johnson from FOX College Football, “Dude, they got some dudes!” There were still a few drops, and at least one of them was a sure touchdown. Mario Easterly, Kamil Foster and Omari Hopkins combined for 18 catches, 287 yards and five touchdowns. That’s nearly 16 yards per catch. The way they all ran after the catch was impressive. Grade: A-
Offensive Line: This was the tale of two halves for the four new starters, including a trio of sophomores. Their quarterback was getting knocked around a bit in the first half as the Colts DL was digging into their you-know-what. The second half was the polar opposite. What stood out was how much they improved pass blocking in this game from one half to the next. Grade: B-
Defensive Line: Outside of a couple series where the Colts gashed them up the middle in the run game, this group did its job well. I noticed a whole bunch of dudes in the rotation. I think I wrote seven or eight numbers down. Pass rush was off the charts good. Colts’ QBs had almost no time to throw. Pressure up the middle was consistent in terms of the pass rush. Grade: B+
Linebackers: The inside guys got bumped around a bit by a solid offensive line at times in the run game. But they closed that down when it was time. OLB Kade Werner was a terror off the edge all game in both run and pass. Might want to block that guy in the future. He was running free all game. Grade: B+
Secondary: I’m not sure I saw too many wideouts running around open in the passing game. To be fair, most of the Colts passing offense was short stuff because of the pressure. Nice tip and pick early in the game to set up a touchdown. Grade: A-
Special Teams: Let’s start with the good, and that is Hopkins’ 80-yard punt return where he was never touched to open up the scoring in the first quarter. Kick coverage was pretty awful all night including surrendering a 92-yard kickoff return. That missed extra point hung in the air for a few minutes, but it ended up meaning nothing. Grade: C+
CEDAR CLIFF COLTS
Quarterback: So what was interesting was the decision by the coaching staff to go with a two-quarterback rotation. At first I thought starter Gannon McMeans was hurt before I realized he was in a rotation with Ethan Dorrell. Neither was very effective, though. Mostly because neither had much time. Combined they were 11 for 22 with one interception each and 99 total yards through the air.. Grade: C
Running Back: The best running back on the field this night was senior Jamir Reynolds-Vasquez. He almost never went down on first contact and kept his legs digging hard in the pile. I like his little spin move he throws in on occasion inside the tackles. It’s nifty. He just ran hard in my book and earned his 105 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown. One drive in the third quarter he carried it seven straight times for 49 yards. The only carry he didn’t have on the scoring drive came on the touchdown. I might bring that up with the dude calling the plays come film time. He deserved a crack at the end zone, right? Grade: A
Wide Receivers: The only true wide receiver I saw for the Colts was junior Trenten Smith. And I’m pretty sure McDevitt knew he was the guy you have to cover. Only two catches, but still managed to scrape out 30 yards on two grabs. Grade: C
Offensive Line: Split right down the middle for me. Run blocking against a physical and attacking defense was money. At times it was downright impressive. Their pass blocking and blitz pick-up was a train wreck. McDevitt guys were getting heat from all angles, and it was consistent all game. I think the speed was something they were not used to seeing. Grade: C+
Defensive Line: First half was outstanding as they made Powell very uncomfortable, hit him a couple times as he threw and the pass was off target. The second half was crickets in terms of pressure. Good against the run inside, but the edge was too open and easy for McD to grab. Grade: B-
Linebackers: It’s not too often I come to a position group after a game and don’t have any notes of any kind. I literally wrote nothing negative or positive about the Colts’ linebackers. To me, that means they must have done their job. It’s very, very rare for me to not catch something over the course of 48 minutes. Grade: B
Secondary: Covering three high-quality high school receivers is an ask almost no secondary can provide the answer for. I actually thought they held their own for the most part. Three of the four quarters you can say they did their job. That third quarter they were lit up something awful, though. McDevitt can do that. They were physical and covered in the flats. Speed killed them on those deep balls. Grade: B-
Special Teams: So the punt return for the TD by the Crusaders was a big whiff. But they answered with a kickoff return for a TD that was extremely well blocked. Other than the long punt return, kickoff coverage was very, very good. Extra points were all solid. Grade: C+