ROSSMERE - In a battle of 2-3 football teams looking to turn their seasons around, Lancaster Catholic outlasted Elco, 33-21, on Friday night.
Clinging to a 27-21 lead with 7:00 left, the Crusaders embarked on a clock-crunching drive, featuring a pounding running game, combined with a couple of timely passes before quarterback Bryan Downey raced 23 yards for a touchdown to seal the game.
Catholic (3-3) was paced by Downey, who looked extremely sharp in completing 8 of 9 first-half passes, guiding the Crusaders on three touchdown drives.
The Crusaders opened the scoring on their second drive, propelled by a 35-yard pass from Downey to freshman Andrew Miklos. Moments later Downey found Jordan Scott, who finished with 99 receiving yards, for a five-yard touchdown.
Elco (2-4) answered quickly, however, when quarterback Kyle Knight hit Nate Beamer for a 28-yard touchdown.
Turning point: Time and time again, Lancaster Catholic answered Elco’s threat. After the Raiders opened the second half with a score by Tyler Horst, Downey pulled off two huge plays. His 42-yard run started off the drive and a 26-yard pass later in the drive set up Christian Sweigert’s second score of the game to give the Crusaders a 27-14 lead. Later, after Elco closed the gap to 27-21 on Knight's 9-yard pass to Tyler Eshleman, Downey led the Crusaders on a time-consuming drive to put the game away.
First half battle: With the score tied 7-7, Lancaster Catholic scored two quick touchdowns to stretch its lead to 21-7 at halftime. Chrisitan Sweigert rushed in from two yards out, followed by Downey racing 45 yards straight up the middle for a score.
The halfime lead was preserved by Downey’s interception in the end zone on the final play of the half.
Key statistic: Fourth downs. Three huge plays in the game featured fourth-down conversions. Elco’s first score came on fourth and long. Later in the second half, trailing 21-7, Knight used his legs to plow for a fourth-down conversion that cut the Crusader lead to 21-14. Then in the fourth quarter, Knight scrambled from sideline to sideline, extending the play before hoisting a long pass that resulted in pass interference and a first down that led to a touchdown, cutting the Raiders' deficit to 27-21.
Next week, Lancaster Catholic hosts Pequea Valley, while Elco hosts Columbia.
Lancaster Catholic 33, Elco 21
Elco _ 0 _ 7 _ 7 _ 7 _ — _ 21
Lanc. Catholic _ 7 _ 14 _ 6 _ 6 _ — _ 33
LC — Jordan Scott 5 pass from Bryan Downey (Connor Engle kick)
E — Nate Beamer 28 pass from Kyle Knight (Dane Miller kick)
LC — Christian Sweigert 2 run (Engle kick)
LC — Downey 45 run (Engle kick)
E — Tyler Horst 4 run (Miller kick)
LC — Sweigert 2 run (kick failed)
E — Ryan Eshelman 9 pass from Knight (Miller kick)
LC — Downey 23 run (conversion failed)
_ Elco _ LC
First downs _ 19 _ 18
Rushes-yards _ 23-79 _ N/A-179
Passing _ 12-21-1 _ 14-18-0
Passing yards _ 151 _ 174
Total yards _ 281 _ 353
Punts _ 3-21.0 _ 1-24.0
Fumbles-lost _ 2-1 _ 1-0
Penalties-yards _ 3-15 _ 2-10