However, it takes four quarters of flawless football to beat a good team like Bishop McDevitt and the Patriots did not have it in them. Bishop McDevitt made big plays to get back into the game in the first half and forced enough Patriots' mistakes to blow open a close game in the second half en route to a 44-21 win.
Led by senior quarterback Alec Werner, Bishop McDevitt's high-powered offense statistically dominated the Patriots' defense, piling up nearly 500 yards of offense and 21 first downs on the afternoon. On the other sideline, the Patriots managed only 203 total yards for the game against the hard-hitting Crusader defense.
"It's tough when you're facing such a good opponent; they kind of wear you down after a little bit," Red Land head coach Chad Weaver said. "But I thought our effort was there and I thought we played well."
Early on, it seemed like the Patriots were poised to pull off an upset. One play after sophomore Phillip Overton intercepted a Werner pass, Nathan Payne pulled down a 19-yard pass in traffic from quarterback Garrett Scott to take a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
After a 42-yard Connor Maloney field goal cut the lead to 7-3, the Patriots methodically drove down the field on the back of bruising running back Josh Hershey. Then facing a third-and-long from the 28, Scott lofted a perfect pass to junior Matt Shope to take a 14-3 lead on the first snap of the second quarter.
Bishop McDevitt quickly erased the deficit as Werner led the Crusaders offense on consecutive scoring drives of 70 and 66 yards in the second quarter, taking a 16-14 lead into halftime.
Down 23-14, the Patriots got the spark they needed from junior running back John Ford, who did not play in the first half. Ford returned the McDevitt kickoff 42 yards to midfield and two plays later took a toss 56 yards off of left tackle to pull the Patriots back to within two points midway through the second quarter but that was the end of the offense.
However, the momentum was short lived as the Crusaders answered with a back-breaking, seven-minute, 14-play scoring drive that ended with a four-yard Darnell Holland touchdown run extending the lead to 30-21. Red Land had three fourth-quarter possessions but managed only 15 yards on one drive and threw interceptions on the first play of the other two.
Hershey led all rushers with 90 yards on 19 carries. Scott finished with 55 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air, but threw three interceptions.
Werner finished the game with 235 yards passing and a touchdown, he also added a rushing touchdown. Bishop McDevitt senior receiver Brian Lemelle finished with a game-high eight catches for 152 yards. Andre Robinson added 81 yards and two touchdowns on the ground for the Crusaders.
Former Bishop McDevitt standout and current Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy had his #20 Crusaders' jersey retired in a pregame ceremony.
Red Land 7 7 7 0 -- 21
Bshp. McD 3 13 14 14 -- 44
RL -- Garrett Scott 19 yd pass to Nathan Payne (Josh Stoner kick), 6:44.Bishop McDevitt -- Connor Maloney 42 yd field goal, 3:02
RL -- Scott 28 yd pass to Matt Shope (Stoner kick), 11:52
BM -- Alec Werner 13 yd run (Maloney kick), 8:39
BM -- Andre Robinson 16 yd run (kick failed), 3:44
BM -- Robinson 5 yd run (Maloney kick), 7:56
RL -- John Ford 55 yd run (Stoner kick), 6:56
BM -- Darnell Holland 4 yd run (Maloney kick), 0:00
BM -- Sheldon Snell 4 yd run (Maloney kick), 1:20
-- Red Land -- BMcD
First downs -- 8 -- 21
Rushes-yards -- 30-148 -- 45-252
Passing -- 4-11-3 -- 13-21-1
Passing yards -- 55 -- 235
Total yards -- 203 -- 487
Punts -- 4 -- 39.5 -- 1 -- 25
Fumbles-lost -- 2-0 -- 1-0
Penalties-yards -- 6 -- 50 -- 8-90
Rushing -- Red Land -- Josh Hershey 19-90, John Ford 5-54, Connor Parson 4-6, Garrett Scott 2-(-2); Bishop McDevitt -- Andre Robinson 16-81 5), Sheldon Snell 11-59, Alec Werner 4-26, Darnell Holland 11-52, Rashad Lawson 3-4, Jayden Demmy 2-18, Brian Lemelle 1-4, Kobay White 1-8.
Passing -- Red Land -- Scott 4-11-3-55; Bishop McDevitt -- Werner 13-21-1-235.
Receiving -- Red Land -- Nathan Payne 1-19, Matt Shope 1-28, Ford 1-(-3), Phillip Overton 1-11; Bishop McDevitt -- Lemelle 8-152, Lawson 2-24, Tyrone Gibson 1-45, Nate Showalter 1-8, Anthony DiMarco 1-6.