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Shippensburg falls in district title game to Berks Catholic

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Berks Catholic dominated Shippensburg in the second half to win the District 3 Class 4A championship, 37-13, on Friday afternoon.

The Saints outscored the Greyhounds 16-0 in the second half to capture the title at Hersheypark Stadium in front of a paid attendance of 2,435. It was the Saints' third district championship in four years.

For the Greyhounds (11-2), their historic season was brought to an ended. Previously, no Shippensburg team had made it past the second round of districts.

"I don't know if I can put this year in perspective," Shippensburg coach Eric Foust said. "One of the team's goals was to get here and I thought it was a lofty goal, but they made it and they should be proud of that."

Shippensburg made it because of an incredible comeback last week against Bishop McDevitt. The first half of Friday's game looked eerily similar.

The Greyhounds went down 14-0 quickly on a 66-yard punt return by Trevon Dabney and a 56-yard rushing score by Cooper Lutz for the Saints.

"We talked about having been there done that and we were able to comeback and make it a game," Foust said. "They gave it their best effort."

A couple of short touchdown runs by Cameron Tinner and a handful of acrobatic catches by Cody Gustafson made the score 21-13 at halftime.

However, that's where the comeback attempt ended. BC methodically controlled the ball in the second half, running 36 plays to Shippensburg's 21.

"Coach Keeley told us at halftime to continue and control the ball," BC running back Brandon George said. "He wanted us to focus on seven and eight minute drives."

The Saints chewed up the clock in the second half with a power running game that wore down the Greyhounds. Berks Catholic finished with 272 total rushing yards.

Lutz led the way with 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He also had a key 22-yard reception of fourth down, late in the fourth quarter.

"I think Cooper is gonna keep getting better but he didn't disappoint today," BC coach Rick Keely said. "He ran really hard and our line did a great job."

Offensively when Shippensburg had the ball, they struggled to protect quarterback Carter Van Scyoc. He was sacked seven times and spent much of the day scrambling out of the pocket.

"Their front four was the best we've seen all season," Van Scyoc said. "But our offensive line gave it 100 percent and that's all I can ask for."

"Our offensive line gave us a great pass rush and he had little time to throw," Keeley said.

The Greyhounds found success moving the ball in the first half by throwing to Gustafson. He racked up 7 catches for 148 yards in the first half, and seemed to come up with every jump ball that was thrown his way.

"Our coverage wasn't bad. There were no blown coverages, the kid was just making outstanding catches." Keeley said. "At halftime we tried to adjust and get some more guys on him."

In the second half the Saints finally solved Gustafson by double teaming him. He was held without a catch and hardly got open.

The Greyhounds had only 52 yards in the second half and hardly threatened. Down 17, they faced a 4th and 10 at midfield with ten minutes to go in the game. Shippensburg decided to punt and the next time they touched the ball they were down 24 with less than two minutes to go.

"It was 4th and greater than 10 and mathematically that's what we would do in that situation," Foust said on the decision to punt.

A Terrence Derr one-yard touchdown sneak with 1:58 to go all but ended Shippensburg's season, one in which it was proud of how much it accomplished.

"We accomplished so much and the older guys already said this is the best season they have ever been apart of," Van Scyoc said. "You can't ask for much more than that."

Foust said the thing he would miss most about this team is where it all began.

"I'm gonna miss practice the most, these kids are fun and they want to be out there everyday," he said. "I really hope the younger kids learn from the older guys."

Berks Catholic advances to the PIAA semifinals, which will be place at a site and local to be determined.

Berks Catholic 37, Shippensburg 13

Shippensburg _ 7 _ 6 _ 0 _ 0 _ — _ 13

Berks Cath. _ 14 _ 7 _ 9 _ 7 _ — _ 37

First Quarter

BC — Dabney 66 punt return (Alex Gundersen kick) 9:55

BC — Lutz 56 run (Gundersen kick) 2:56

Ship — Cameron Tinner 2 run (Jackson VanHorne kick) :48

Second Quarter

BC — Brian Tanis 32 pass from Derr (Gundersen kick) 4:07

Ship — Tinner 2 run (Kick failed) :25

Third Quarter

BC — Jamin Smith 31 field goal 6:32

BC — Lutz 6 run (Kick failed) 1:13

Fourth Quarter

BC — Derr 1 run (Gundersen kick) 1:58

Team Statistics

_ Ship _ BC

First downs _ 11 _ 11

Rushes-yards _45-272  _ 24-33

Passing _ 6-9-1 _ 16-32-1

Passing yards _ 124 _ 244

Total yards _ 396 _ 277

Punts _ 2-29.5 _ 4-32

Fumbles-lost _ 3-1 _ 0

Penalties-yards _ 5-35 _ 3-35

Individual Statistics

Rushing — Ship, Adam Houser 13-36, Van Scyoc 8 -(-11), Tinner 3-8; BC, Lutz 15-150, Marcus Wilson 13-70, George 8-27, Graham Glueck 5-21, Derr 4-13.

Passing — Ship, Van Scyoc 16-32-244-1; BC, Derr 6-9-124-1.

Receiving — Ship, Gustafson 7-148, Houser 4-55, Cain Fridinger 1-15, Clayton Stine 2-14, Tinner 2-12; BC, Marco Ramos 2-41, George 1-7, Tanis 1-32, Sean Guilbe 1-22, Lutz 1-22.

Interceptions — Ship, Gustafson; BC, Matthew Hagelbarger.