4th Down Staff:
4th Down Magazine
Top-seeded Berks Catholic (12-0) and No. 2 Bishop McDevitt (10-2), which had its string of six consecutive district titles snapped in 2016, will meet at Hersheypark Stadium at 1 p.m. Friday in the District 3 Class 4A title game. Below are 5 Numbers that Matter in deciding Friday’s outcome.
7 --Current District 3 winning steak by Berks Catholic. After two proud franchises, and former rivals, Holy Name and Reading Central Catholic merged in Feb. 2011, the new “build” has been pretty successful on the field. In fact, the Saints are a terrific 13-2 all-time in district play since 2012, winning Class 2A titles in 2013, 2015, and the 4A crown last year. The Saints’ last defeat came to Wyomissing in the ’14 2A finale.
14.8 -- Average yards per carry by Bersk Catholic’s Cooper Lutz. Yes, Lutz is the pulse of the Saints’ offense and he hasn’t been curtailed all season. The Syracuse commit is that credible blend of size (6-0, 195) and speed, and the Saints are back in the District 3 title game because of him. The Crusaders have been victimized by other progressive rushing attacks, so BC’s No. 2 is top priority.
72-58 -- Combined record for Bishop McDevitt opponents this season. At least part of the reason for the Crusaders’ routine runs through District 3 and PIAA neighborhoods in their strength of schedule. And a slate of plus-14 is pretty solid in prep football. McD can thank a typically grueling Keystone Division for preparing the program to meet the weekly challenges in the postseason. That said, the margin is only slightly wider than Berks Catholic’s 68-61 tally in the same category.
393-7 -- First-half advantage in points by Berks Catholic this season. The number is telling for any future opponent. If the Saints dig in early, it’s nearly impossible for foes to dig out, even one as talented as Bishop McDevitt. The Crusaders have become a much more balanced offense in the past seven weeks, but Jeff Weachter’s side must set its own terms.
28-6 -- Yes, we’re sticking with ratio’s and this last one represents QB Chase Diehl’s TD-to-INT ratio. While Qualik Davis, CJ Reyes-Diggs and McD’s better-by-the-minute offensive line have been terrific lately, Diehl has been the glue all season long. He represents the most dangerous threat to the Saints. The proof is a 73-percent completion rate and those 2,792 passing yards. You can bet the Saints have not faced a QB of this caliber to date.
The pick: The preseason consensus had Berks Catholic in the driver’s seat to another 4A title. The Saints are still driving, but McD has changed to a more powerful engine recently and is now in draft position. Can the Crusaders find the right time to make their move?
Berks Catholic 27, Bishop McDevitt 21