The Cedar Crest football team found that out about Lancaster Catholic on Friday night in a 49-0 mercy-rule drubbing.
Lancaster Catholic, moving up from Class AA and Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three to Class AAA and L-L Section One this year, relied on their stud senior running back Roman Clay to run them to victory.
Clay finished the night with a mind-blowing 314 yards on just 12 carries, a 26-plus yards per carry average and four touchdown runs of 56, 9, 59 and 48 yards.
"He's a good back, he's physical," said Cedar Crest coach Tom Waranavage following the game about Clay. "We just had a hard time holding up physically."
"We got our butts kicked tonight," continued Waranavage on the subject of the Crusaders. "This is the second-best team we played, Wilson being the first. They're pretty good. Take the classification away from it, you don't win a state title in Pennsylvania two out of three years and not be pretty good. I don't care if it's single-A, double-A, three- or four-A; you don't win a couple state titles and not be a good, sound football team. Again, coach (Bruce) Harbach does a great job and has a great staff."
The Crusaders entered Friday night's game with a 5-3 overall record, with a 3-2 record in L-L's Section One, but weren't in trouble right from the onset of the game. After forcing a Falcon punt on the opening possession, Clay and the Crusaders went to work on a four-play, 69-yard drive that culminated with the first of Clay's scoring bursts from 56 yards out on a draw play up the middle.
The very next Crusader possession, after another Cedar Crest punt, Clay again took to the ground, plunging in from nine yards out and the rout was on at 14-0 midway through the first quarter. The Falcons weren't ready to back down and quit just yet.
Starting the second quarter facing a crucial fourth-and-seven at the Crusader 26-yard line, senior quarterback Nick Cascarino dropped back and found freshman phenom Evan Horn 12 yards downfield for the first down.
'Three plays later, however, the Falcons found themselves facing a fourth-and-7 once again, this time at the Crusader 11-yard line with a decision on whether to kick it or go for it again.
The Falcons decided to trot soccer transplant Kevin Bonnalle on for the 29-yard field goal attempt. Bonnalle got everything into the kick, but a Lancaster Catholic rusher got behind the line and tipped the kick, causing it to fall into the end zone.
Four plays later, Clay was busting down the right sideline on a 59-yard touchdown run to make it 21-0 after Evan Purvis tacked on one of his seven extra points on the evening. That's when the wheels seemed to start following off the Cedar Crest wagon.
On the ensuing possession for the Falcons, Cascarino got picked off by Turner Skehan, which was the first of four Cedar Crest turnovers on the night, something that Waranavage was not pleased about afterwards.
"You can't turn the ball over," said Waranavage. "It's the most overlooked stat. It's not time of possession, first downs or yards; it's turnovers. We have to take care of the ball better and we have to put our kids in better situations."
Following the interception, Clay needed just one play to make it 28-0 when he took the handoff from Purvis, broke down the right side, cut back to the middle, made a guy miss and was gone, 48 yards this time.
By the time halftime rolled around, the Falcons were trailing 42-0 after Clay's backfield mate Carmelo Cruz took one in from one yard out, and senior Sean Titus returned the second of Cascarino's interceptions 85 yards for the score.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair contested mostly by backups, with the Crusaders putting the lone points on the board, an eight-yard pitch-and-catch from Purvis to Cruz.
Cedar Crest played without several key players, including junior running back Grant Boehler, but that was no excuse for Waranavage as he had his team on the "next man up" mentality.
"Next man up," said Waranavage. "Next man up, everyone has kids out. It's week 9. In Pennsylvania 4-A football, everyone has kids out and it's something we really tried to emphasize with the boys; next man up, it's your opportunity, you gotta go and that's what we expect."
Falcon freshman Evan Horn was a bright spot for the Falcons, playing tough football on both sides of the ball, intercepting two passes, including a fabulous diving effort late in the game. He also caught three balls for 14 yards and carried the ball five times for 16 yards.
Afterwards, Waranavage spoke highly of the freshman.
"Evan is going to be a very good football player," the coach said. "More importantly than that, he's a good kid. He's already emerging as a leader of this football team and that's huge. We're going to, God willing, have him healthy for three more years, and I think he's a kid that three years from now there's going to be a lot of schools looking at him."
"We brought him with us in the summertime to take a look at him. Our intent was honestly to play him on one side of the ball, and as we just kept introducing stuff to him, he picked it up very well."
Waranavage also spoke highly of two other young developing players in sophomore Damon Edwards and junior Denzel Pierre.
"Damon is playing real well for us. He's a slot back for us that we moved to tailback just with some kids banged up. He's a good football player."
"Denzel Pierre is coming around; it's his second year playing football. You can just see that young man making strides. Little pieces are starting to come."
With week 9 come and gone, Waranavage simply cannot believe how quickly the season has gone by, and simply isn't ready for it to be over.
"It hit me a little bit today, 'Oh my God, it's week 9, and we're 2-and-6' and a lot of people may be like 'I can't wait for it to be over.' But I like working with these kids top to bottom, from the seniors down to the one freshman. I like working with the boys, we've grown and we have some fun with them when it's the right time to have fun with them. They're good kids, and I really have enjoyed it and to think next week is week 10 already, it's gone just so fast."
LANCASTER CATHOLIC 49, CEDAR CREST 0
Cedar Crest 0-0-0-0 - 0
Lanc. Catholic 14-28-7-0 - 49
LC - Roman Clay 56 run (Evan Purvis kick)
LC - Clay 9 run (Purvis kick)
LC - Clay 59 run (Purvis kick)
LC - Clay 48 run (Purvis kick)
LC - Carmelo Cruz 1 run (Purvis kick)
LC - Sean Titus 85 interception return (Purvis kick)
LC - Cruz 8 pass from Purvis (Purvis kick)
CC - LC
First downs 9 - 17
Rushes-yards 36-135 - 28-349
Passing 7-20-3 - 12-14-2
Passing yards 67 - 131
Total yards 202 - 480
Punts 3-40.3 - 0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 - 2-1
Penalties-yards 1-10 - 4-30
Rushing: CC - Chuck Yost 13-54, Gage Ocker 4-21, Damon Edwards 8-9, Evan Horn 4-16, Nick Cascarino 2-(minus-19), Kyrie Gillette 2-11, Jeremy Roman 2-3, Jack Wuori 1-(minus-2); LC - Clay 12-314, Cruz 5-26, Andrew Longenecker 2-(minus-6), Michael Jacunski 2-(minus-16), Nassir Weaver 4-23, Trey Miller 3-8
Passing: CC - Cascarino 7-18-2, 67 yards; Josh Bucher 0-2-1; LC - Purvis 10-11-1, 107 yards; Jacunski 2-3-1, 24 yards
Receiving: CC - Horn 3-14, Ocker 2-34, Denzell Pierre 1-11, Josh Lebo 1-8. LC - Titus 5-43, Clay 1-2, Isiah Taltoan 1-23, Nevin Pagan 2-31, Cruz 1-8, Harrison Heise 1-12, Charles Scarff 1-12.