RADNOR — It was planned for Austin Tilghman to run the ball more than usual Saturday afternoon when Archbishop Carroll High's football team closed its season with a Homecoming matchup against Bishop McDevitt.
As it turned out, 25 carries were more than enough.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior rushed 25 times for a school-record 374 yards and five touchdowns, and before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter due to a slight ankle sprain, led the Patriots past the Lancers, 49-30, in a shootout at Radnor's Prevost Field.
"It's great,' said Tilghman of his work load, which included touchdown runs of 21, 2, 67, 80 and 34 yards. "But I wouldn't be able to do what I do without our offensive line, so I have to thank our coaches and our front line today.'
Carroll head coach Joe Powel said, because of McDevitt's lack of size in the trenches, the size and speed of Tilghman made him the day's go-to guy.
And Tilghman not only accepted the challenge, he ran with it (pun intended).
"This was a great way to end the season,' Tilghman said. "We've had kind of a roller-coaster season, but I think this game showed how good we could be.'
The contest began as a defensive coordinator's nightmare, with the first six series resulting in points.
McDevitt drew first blood, via Brendan Hanagan's 30-yard field goal, but Tilghman answered with a 21-yard touchdown run with 4:15 left in the opening quarter.
The Lancers responded two plays from scrimmage later when quarterback Max Bryson found Gary Meakim all alone in the Patriots secondary for a 44-yard score.
The Patriots answered with a six-play drive that featured a 53-yard run by Tilghman and the senior's second score of the game on the final play of the period.
McDevitt's Stephen Leach then broke off an 83-yard kickoff return that set up a Bryson rushing touchdown from the Patriots 7-yard line.
Next, Carroll's Shawn Springs got into the act, breaking off a 61-yard touchdown run that put the Patriots up, 21-17, with 10:15 left in the half.
The string of non-stop scoring was snapped when Shy'Quan Davis intercepted Bryson on the game's next series.
But someone forgot to tell Tilghman about the moratorium on scoring, as he took a handoff on the first play following the pick and galloped 67 yards to send the Patriots into the break with a 28-17 lead.
Like most of Tilghman's runs on the day, it featured missed tackles, broken tackles and in some cases Lancers defenders being carried along for the ride.
And they didn't end with halftime.
On the opening play of the third quarter, Tilghman bowled 80 yards to up the Patriots bulge to 35-17.
Then, on the next Patriots possession, the senior transfer from the St. Andrew's School in Middletown, Del. closed out his scoring for the afternoon with a 34-yard touchdown to all-but officially put the game in the Carroll win column.
Finally, on the second play of fourth quarter, after a one-yard run, Tilghman hobbled off the field after turning his right ankle and spent the remainder of the game on the trainer's table.
But by then, damage of the major variety had been done.
Tilghman's football season was over, although now it's time for the running back to take off his Superman cape and put on his Hulk hands.
It seems football is not the senior's best sport. In fact, he is one of the top point-guard recruits in the country, and will now switch gears from the gridiron to the court.
"I shut down basketball during football season,' Tilghman said. "But now that our season's over I'll start playing some basketball on Sundays and getting ready for the season.'
"My understanding is that he was looking to play somewhere else,' said Powel of Tilghman's path to Carroll. "He looked at our basketball program and visited our school and liked it.
"And we were lucky to have him.'
And Tilghman said he was fortunate to land at Carroll.
"I'm enjoying myself,' he said. "The guys have welcomed me.
"I feel welcome here, and I thank them for that.'
EXTRA POINTS: McDevitt's Vince DiLeo more than held his own in the running back dept., rushing for 177 yards for the Lancers, including individual runs of 47 and 62 yards. ... With Carroll's season over, Powel was looking toward the future. "We have a solid freshman program, with 26 kids,' Powel said. "We're losing only six seniors and we have a nucleus that can only grow and get better. We want them to buy into a weight program. Our biggest deficiency has been our team strength.'
CARROLL 49, MCDEVITT 30
McDevitt 10 7 0 13 - 30
Carroll 14 14 14 7 - 49
BM - Hanagan 30 FG
AC - Tilghman 21 run (Frederick kick)
BM - Meakim 44 pass from Bryson (Hanagan kick)
AC - Tilghman 2 run (Frederick kick)
BM - Bryson 7 run (Hanagan kick)
AC - Springs 61 run (Frederick kick)
AC - Tilghman 67 run (Frederick kick)
AC - Tilghman 80 run (Frederick kick)
AC - Tilghman 34 run (Frederick kick)
BM - DiLeo 11 run (kick failed)
AC - Davis 13 run (Frederick kick)
BM - Meakim 5 fumble return (Hanagan kick)
First Downs 13 19
Rushing Yards 33-263 47-530
Passing Yards 73 0
Totals Yards 336 530
Passing 5-14-1 0-1-0
Penalties 2-10 3-30
Fumbles lost 1-1 1-1
Punts-Avg. 2-43.0 1-40.0
RUSHING — MCDEVITT: DiLeo 17-177, 1 TD; Bryson 14-93, 1 TD; Meakim 2-(-7). CARROLL: Tilghman 25-374, 5 TDs; Springs 8-99, 1 TD; Davis 5-39, 1 TD; McMorran 3-20; Pearson 3-1; Guyger 3-(-3).
PASSING — MCDEVITT: Bryson 5-14-1 int., 73 yds., 1 TD. CARROLL: McMorran 0-1-0 ints.
RECEIVING —MCDEVITT: Meakim 2-56, 1 TD; Jeffers 2-24; DiLeo 1-(-7). CARROLL: None.
INTERCEPTIONS — MCDEVITT: None. CARROLL: Davis.
SACKS — McDEVITT: None. CARROLL: Swatski.