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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Sunday Morning QB: New records set across the Mid-Penn; State College flexes its muscle; gambling to win and more

To kick off this midseason version of the Sunday Morning Quarterback, we have some impressive records that tumbled in Week 5 to highlight.

First, Bishop McDevitt’s domination of previously undefeated Cedar Cliff at West Shore Stadium was the 18th consecutive victory for the Crusaders. The defending PIAA Class 4A champs lost their opener in 2022 to Imhotep Charter and haven’t lost since.

The 18 straight wins is a school record that is going to continue to grow as the Crusaders roll through the Keystone Division portion of their schedule. From my chair, the opening three non-conference games McDevitt played make this mark the gold standard. The number should exceed 25 at a minimum.

Speaking of the 5-0 Crusaders, junior quarterback Stone Saunders became the all-time career passing yards leader in school history with more than 8,000 yards. Saunders surpassed Matt Johnson, the current Kent State offensive coordinator who played collegiately at Bowling Green.

Here’s the kicker: Saunders is only a junior. Imagine how many yards he might have considering he played very little or not at all in the second half in at least half the regular season games during his three years.

Of course, he’s enjoyed having a ridiculous amount of highly talented receivers at his disposal. The Kentucky recruit will own all the records at McDevitt, if he doesn’t already, before he’s done.

Elsewhere, West Perry senior quarterback Marcus Quaker threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns in a cruise-control win over James Buchanan. The signal caller for the 5-0 squad from Elliottsburg is now the school record holder for career passing yards with 4,738. Quaker surpassed Zach Smith’s mark of 4,523 yards established from 2010-2012.

Quaker is the best QB in Mustangs history. The proof is in his career numbers, where he’s first in completions, second in completion percentage, first in passing yards, first in passing touchdowns, is the top rushing QB in school history and tied for first in total touchdowns. No wonder the Mustangs are 16-2 in their last 18 games.

State College announces its presence

Prior to the season I was fairly certain State College had some tools to be a contender for championships at any level in the state. Then the Little Lions were pushed by Williamsport to start the season, lost to Downingtown East and had a game canceled because of lightning storms.

So I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from this State College squad when it made a road trip to surging Central Dauphin to play the Rams at The Speedway. On some levels I think the Little Lions wanted to learn about themselves at the halfway point.

And the Rams delivered a haymaker early, taking the first play from scrimmage 60 yards and scoring on the opening drive. What impressed me was the response by State College. It was very telling.

The Little Lions’ offense powered up and scored 31 straight points, and the defense locked down CD’s run-focused offense. State College was dominant. I don’t think the Rams played poorly, either.

Little Lions QB Eddie Corkery is a weapon, and he has plenty of options at WR led by Ty Salazer. The Rams had no answer for State College’s short passing game built on accuracy from the QB and speed on the edges.

CD is a quality opponent and was playing its best football of the season coming into this tilt. State College simply announced its presence on many levels with authority.

You play to win the game

Playing to win in the dying stages of a game, or in overtime, is something I’ve always admired. Risking a loss by gambling to win is a tough call but one I’m on board with.

Waynesboro squandered a 21-point lead at Northern, and in the fourth quarter found itself down by a touchdown. The Indians rallied and pulled even with 5:55 to play. New head coach Mark Saunders, the former Chambersburg skipper, played to win and went for two to grab a 29-28 lead that stood up.

Last week Big Spring went for two in overtime to edge Camp Hill instead of rolling the dice in a second overtime. Central Dauphin did the same earlier this season to win on the road at Wilson.

Trinity could have kicked a field goal in the dying seconds to force overtime with West Perry at COBO Field a week ago. Instead, T-Rock head coach Jordan Hill made the absolute right call and went for the win. The Shamrocks pass play on fourth down failed. Maybe you question the play call, but the decision was about winning while not being afraid to lose, either.

Quick hits

  • Harrisburg was in full snooze mode at Cumberland Valley before a halftime reset took place. The Cougars, behind 338 passing yards along with 85 rushing yards and four touchdowns from QB Shawn Lee Jr., dropped a five-touchdown bomb on the Eagles the final 24 minutes. Harrisburg WR Elias Coke had seven grabs for 193 yards and three TDs.
  • As expected the Colonial Division battle between unbeatens East Pennsboro and Greencastle-Antrim was a tight squeeze. The Panthers’ offense didn’t have the explosive extra gear but instead went into grind mode. That’s because the Blue Devils kept the game inside their box. QB Keith Oates III had three rushing TDs and led East Pennsboro with six tackles. The contribution of RB JJ Gossard (105 rushing yards on 21 carries) was the game-changer for the Panthers. Winning (final score 24-13) when it’s not easy will serve this Panthers team well. 
  • CD East is 3-2 at the halfway point and moved to 1-1 in the Commonwealth Division after drubbing Altoona on the road at Mansion Park. Not much was expected of the Panthers to start the season, and to be honest, their schedule has been very favorable. Still, you are what your record says you are. RB Jared Porter had 219 rushing yards and a TD while also snagging an INT in the three-touchdown win. The Panthers still have State College, Harrisburg and rival Central Dauphin, who is also 3-2, to play. The really tough games are coming, but opportunity still exists for a .500 season. That would’ve been unexpected in the preseason.
  • Did Chambersburg really beat Carlisle 3-0? I was sure the score was wrong. It’s 2023 after all. Why do I really like that scoreline?

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