PAFOOTBALLNEWS PA Football News Scoreboard

Ramblers Crush the Crusaders to Advance to 4A Title Game

Erie Cathedral Prep and Bishop McDevitt had split their first four meetings with three of those games coming down to the final minutes or even seconds.  The much-anticipated fireworks between the two Class 4A powerhouses in their fifth meeting was a dud.  The Ramblers travelled four hours to Altoona’s Mansion Park and crushed the Crusaders to the tune of 48-7, surprising everyone in attendance, including the Cathedral Prep coaches.  Up 42-0 at halftime, Coach Mike Mischler stated, “I told the coaches I don’t even know what to do right know.  We didn’t need to make adjustments, so we just sat in the room and looked at each other like what is going on right now.”

Prep owned McDevitt in an awesome display of physicality and speed, technique and tenaciousness, and offensive, defensive, and special team prowess.  Prep’s physicality was center stage from the get go.  McDevitt’s first play from scrimmage, after a touchback on the opening kickoff, lost a yard as the running back was swarmed under.  Two plays later Mike Lupo sacked Crusader quarterback, Chase Diehl for a 9-yard loss.  Darius Williams proceeded to put the Ramblers in good field position at the McDevitt 41 after a short return of the Crusader punt.

Billy Lucas went up the gut for a 26-yard touchdown (his first of four on the night) on the Ramblers’ fourth play.  Colin Johnson booted the PAT and ECP led 7-0 two minutes and thirty-seven seconds into the contest.  After exchanging punts, then forcing Bishop McDevitt to go three and out for the third straight time, Prep began at its own 25.  On the second play, Regan Schleicher scurried up the middle for 69 yards to the Crusader one.  “I thought I was in and they’d give it to me,” Schleicher said.  He scored on the next play and the Ramblers led 14-0.

Coin flip meeting at midfield.

ECP continued to stymie the McDevitt offense, a team that averaged 46 points a game coming in, forcing another punt.  This time Williams gathered the ball in at his 42, made a couple moves, and was gone for a 58-yard return which probably turned out to be the dagger through the Crusaders’ collective hearts.  “That was a spear to them (McDevitt),” Mischler surmised.  “That was a big time play by a big-time player,” he continued.  The scoreboard showed 2:03 remaining in the first stanza and Prep led 21-0.  No one on either side could have dreamt that, but then if they had, absolutely no one would even fathom the Ramblers would score three more in the second and go into halftime up 42-0.

But, that’s exactly what they did.  Schleicher used his speed to outrun McDevitt defenders with an 89-yard run early in the second quarter.  “Our offensive line gets the credit.  No one touched me.  They work hard each and every practice,” related the Rambler signal-caller.  A little over a minute later a short punt gave Erie the ball at McDevitt’s 29.  A pass to Skyler Neely put the Ramblers at the Crusader two.  Lucas then punched it in and Schleicher hit Neely for two points propping Prep’s lead to 35-0 (they had missed the prior PAT).  At 6:31 the Ramblers scored once more, this time on Lucas’ 33-yard jaunt.  That drive began at the Crusader 35 after Lupo recovered a fumble.  Now it was 42-0.  For all intents and purposes the game was over, but the two teams had to play the second half and since Prep led by at least 35, the Mercy Rule went into effect keeping the clock running throughout half number two.

Lucas looking for space.

Bishop McDevitt scored in the third quarter when they fumbled into the end zone and offensive lineman, Carter Christopher, recovered it to put the Crusaders on the board.  Cathedral Prep’s final score came twelve seconds into the fourth quarter when Lucas pushed the agate over the goal line from five yards out.  The point after was blocked and without too much fanfare the game ended about fifteen minutes later, sending the Prep players into celebration mode knowing they were heading to the state championship game for the fourth year in a row.  And for the fourth year in a row they will be playing the Panthers of Imhotep Charter from Philadelphia who were 41-6 victors over Bethlehem Catholic.

“I’m pretty excited.  I’m pretty knew to this, but it’s an amazing experience,” smiled Schleicher.  Mischler observed that, “we’re hitting on all cylinders at the right time of year.  Our preparation and tough schedule really prepared us for now.”  Asked about the physical part of the game his kids showed, Mischler said, “yeah that was a big part of it, our defense played great.  Our kids came out ready to hit and played with a chip on their shoulder.”

Celebration mode.

Game Notes: Erie Cathedral Prep gained 344 yards with 313 coming on the ground.  Schleicher showed the way with 167 yards on only seven carries, scoring twice.  Lucas chipped in with 138 yards on 17 totes with four of those being TDs.  McDevitt garnered 282 yards with 171 coming through the air.  Diehl was 10 for 25 and also threw two picks, both to Ervin Williams who produced 112 yards with those interceptions.  Crusader CJ Reyes-Diggs had 82 yards rushing on 17 carries.  Bishop McDevitt closes their year with a record of 12-2, while Prep advances their record to 12-3.

Diehl looking for someon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *