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York Catholic is lights-out in fourth quarter

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York Catholic has been a team that prides itself on outplaying its opponents in the fourth quarter.

“No one outplays us in the fourth,” can be heard as a rallying cry in the team huddle between the third and fourth quarter.

On Tuesday, the Irish proved that the fourth quarter is their time, outscoring Central York by a five-goal margin in the final frame to pull away, 14-8, and secure a spot in the YAIAA title game. They'll take on Red Lion, a 12-9 winner against Susquehannock in the other semifinal.

“We have seniors that step in and say, ‘No one outplays us in the fourth,’” York Catholic head coach Shane Harper said. “And it’s true. We show up in the fourth. … It’s awesome. It’s what we’ve been living and dying by recently.”

York Catholic senior midfielder Luke Brennan echoed his coach’s sentiment, adding: “That’s been our mantra all year is nobody outplays us in the fourth. They did last game, they outscored us in the fourth quarter. We said that would never happen and we were right."

Eli Doyle scored three of his team-high five goals in the fourth, including a one-handed shot from his knees that left even his teammates speechless. Brennan added four goals and an assist, and Alex Reichart made nine saves in net. Sam Prowell made 17 saves for Central, while T.J. Ross and Katon Yantek each recorded hat tricks.

“I think that’s the best team in the league,” Central head coach Tom Mayne said of the Irish. “I’ve seen them twice now. I’ve seen other teams. They even played without (Jacob) Norton tonight. That’s the best team in the league. They might not have the top two players like Red Lion has right now, but they have the best team.”

Not many people outside of the Irish locker room expected York Catholic to be a title contender after finishing in the bottom fourth of the league last season. But it was just a matter of time until the “sleeping giants,” as Brennan referred to them, woke up.

“It’s exactly what we expected,” Harper said. “We knew we could do it. It was just a matter of finishing. In big games we had trouble doing that in years past and this year we were able to finish. … I think it does put us in that upper tier as of right now. We’re playing with the big schools now for sure.”