LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP >> Despite a rough first half that saw Red Land suffer from penalties, turnovers and an inability to generate much offensive flow, the Patriots broke through with a late touchdown to pull within 12 points of Bishop McDevitt less than 2 minutes before halftime.
The play was their best of the night: A beautiful 21-yard screen pass to tight end Joe Crocenzi.
But any momentum the Patriots gained from Crocenzi's touchdown vanished 14 seconds later when McDevitt's Kobay White returned the kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, and the Crusaders went on to earn a 41-14 victory Friday night.
Red Land coach Chad Weaver said after the game he felt a little momentum swing to the visitor's way after Crocenzi's touchdown, which came at the 1:37 mark and pulled the Patriots to within 19-7. On that touchdown play, the Patriots' offensive line let the entire Bishop McDevitt defensive line in the backfield to chase after quarterback Jake Radic, who backpedaled and floated a pass to the waiting Crocenzi.
But on the ensuing kickoff, Red Land kicker Chad Stout boomed the ball toward the Crusaders' end zone, where White backed up, caught the ball and barely avoided stepping on the goal line.
White, a first-team all-state player on his way to Boston College, started up the middle and cut left. Although a couple Red Land players had decent angles on White, he flew down the sideline virtually untouched for the 99-yard return.
"It kind of created a larger gap there than you're hoping for coming out of halftime," Weaver said. "They're a very talented team and you've got to play a near perfect game to hang with them."
White was just getting started. He torched the Patriots' secondary in the second half for 66- and 64-yard scores. The 6-1, 195-pound senior, who had offers from Michigan State, Maryland, Virginia and Syracuse, used his combination of elite speed and athleticism to toy with the smaller Patriot defensive backs.
The Crusaders (4-1, 8-1, Mid-Penn) plays Lower Dauphin to complete its regular season. Red Land (1-4, 3-6, Mid-Penn) has its annual rivalry game against Cedar Cliff.
Weaver urged his squad to finish a lost season strong against their main rival.
"We'll have a big crowd and it'll be emotional," he said. "You can't ask for a better environment to play football."
Red Land0707—14Bishop McDevitt131477—41
BM — Bryce Hall 25-yard pass from Tayvon Bowers (Fonner kick) 8:50
BM — Matt Geiger 22-yard run (kick failed) 1:10
BM — Michael Jones 10-yard run (kick failed) 8:10
RL — Joe Crocenzi 21-yard pass from Jake Radic (Stout kick) 1:37
BM — Kobay White 99-yard kickoff return (Kyree Calli pass from Bowers) 1:23
BM — White 66-yard pass from Bowers (Fonner kick) 7:30
BM — White 64-yard pass from Bowers (Fonner kick) 11:48
RL — Justin Johnson 2-yard run (Stout kick) 7:16
RL BMFirst downs1114Rushes-Yards35- (-2)28-127Passing9-2114-18Passing Yards125268Total Yards123395Punts5-1512-53Fumbles-Lost3-11-1Penalties-Yards2-206-58
Rushing — RL, Jake Radic 5- (-13), Johnson 24-49, Hunter Briner 5- (-31), Kyle Campbell 1- (-7). BM, Bowers 5-8, Matt Geiger 2-17, Michael Jones 14-80, Tnyis Becker 5-14, Mustafa Blackston 2-8.
Passing — RL, Radic 9-20-125-1, Briner 0-1-0-0. BM, Bowers 14-18-268-1.
Receiving — RL, Briner 1-27, Zi Reevey 2-18, Joe Crocenzi 3-49, Johnson 1-8, Jaelyn Gaither, 2-23. BM, Kyree Calli 2-14, Kevin Lenz 3-45, Bryce Hall 2-40, White 7-169.