Red Land shocked six-time reigning district champion Bishop McDevitt, 17-6, during the opening night of regular-season football action Friday at Rocco Ortenzio Stadium at Bishop McDevitt High School.
The Red Land players reacted to the victory by jumping around, hugging each other and spraying each other with water.
Red Land won just three games last season, including its season opener against York Suburban.
Red Land coach Chad Weaver admitted he was concerned about his team holding onto this emotional win too long.
"But I'm not going to tell them to settle down right now," Weaver said.
Bishop McDevitt defeated Red Land 41-14 last season.
Red Land's defense stood out the entire game. The unit held the Crusaders to just six first downs, and it didn't yield a single point. Bishop McDevitt's only score of the game came with 6:36 to play on a 99-yard kickoff return by T'nyis Becker.
Playing on a humid August night, players from both teams suffered injuries and cramps that forced them to leave the field.
The Red Land defense did not rely on a blitz in order to make things happen. Instead, the Patriots' front four pressured Bishop McDevitt senior quarterback Tayvon Bowers all game. The Wake Forest commit completed just eight passes for 70 yards. Bowers passed for more than 3,500 yards last season.
Red Land sacked Bowers three times, but he was constantly moving out of the pocket to buy time.
"Coming into the game we weren't sure we'd be able to get pressure without sending people," Weaver said, "but we have some guys at defensive end that have some speed and they had a great game."
Bishop McDevitt had just 148 yards of total offense.
Red Land feature back Justin Johnson surpassed Bishop McDevitt's total offense just by himself.
Carrying 41 times for 197 yards and the game's first touchdown, Johnson led a Patriots offense that compiled 313 total yards.
"We didn't really want him to have that many carries, but he's a kid that's worked as hard as anyone I've ever met and he's a great kid," Weaver said. "I'm so proud of what he's been able to accomplish here."
Red Land snapped a scoreless tie when Chad Stout kicked a 39-yard field goal with 6:20 to play in the third quarter to cap a 12-play drive to start the second half. Bishop McDevitt punted after just three offensive plays, and Red Land's offense took over again. Jake Radic hit Jaelyn Gaither for a 26-yard reception, the key play in an eight-play drive that culminated in Johnson's 1-yard touchdown plunge. Less than six minutes separated the two scores.
Gaither helped seal the win with a 45-yard interception return with 6:54 to play.
Rick Stavig compiled statistics, analysis and commentary from the game
Red Land 17, Bishop McDevitt 6
Red Land _ 0 _ 0 _ 10 _ 7 _ — _ 17
Bishop McDevitt _ 0 _ 0 _ 0 _ 6 _ — _ 6
RL — Chad Stout 39 kick, 6:20
RL — Justin Johnson 1 run (Stout kick), :37
RL — Jaelyn Gaither 45 interception return (Stout kick), 6:54
McD — T'ynis Becker 99 kickoff return (kick failed), 6:36
_ McD _ RL
First downs _ 6 _ 17
Rushes-yards _ 16-75 _ 54-274
Passing _ 9-21-1 _ 4-12-0
Passing yards _ 73 _ 39
Total yards _ 148 _ 313
Punts _ 6-37.6 _ 4-34.25
Fumbles-lost _ 1-1 _ 1-1
Rushing — RL, Johnson 41-197, Jake Radic 8-39, Hunter Briner 4-38. McD, Matt Geiger 4-82, Becker 4-11, Michael Jones 4-5, Tayvon Bowers 3-(-31).
Passing — RL Radic 4-12-0 39. McD, Bowers 8-20-1 70, Chase Diehl 1-1-0 3 .
Receiving — RL, Gaither 2-30, Johnson 1-2, Tate Myers 1-7. McD, Becker 3-7, Nazir Burnett 3-9, Jones 1-7, Chris Briner 1-30.