Back and Forth Semi-Final Game Ends in a Hard Fought Victory For The Ramblers.
Written by: Keegan Welka
In a game that seemed like it would go down to the wire in the first half, Prep was able to pull away and defeat the Berks Catholic Saints 42-24. While the Ramblers played well this game against their best opponent of the season, the player that stood out and led the Ramblers to a victory was junior running back Billy Lucas. Lucas ran for 268 yards on just 14 attempts. That’s roughly 19 yards per carry, which is absolutely astounding. He also scored 5 touchdowns on his running attempts, showcasing the potential he has to become a Division 1 football player. For BC, their leading rusher was Syracuse commit Cooper Lutz, who ran for 127 yards on 22 attempts. Berks ran the ball a lot this contest, attempting 58 different rushes compared to only 14 passing plays.
For the first half of the game, it seemed like the contest could go either way. To start the semi-final game, Berks received the ball first. After a long drive that lasted for nearly 10 minutes and didn’t include a single passing play, the Saints were finally able to score off of a 4 yard run by Lutz. Prep clapped back when, with 1:29 left in the first quarter, Joe Mischler threw a 59 yard bomb right into Terry Roberts’ arms, who didn’t waste the opportunity and ran the ball into the engine for a touchdown.
The second quarter of the contest proved to be no different than the first in terms of scoring. Berks scored at 11:10 after 6 plays off of a run by junior tailback Brandon George. Responding, Prep put their faith in Lucas. The junior RB performed exceptionally well this drive, running 23 yards for a touchdown after juking out multiple defenders when it seemed he was completely wrapped up. With 7:32 left in the half the game was tied 14-14.
On the Saints 3rd drive, Lutz fumbled the ball on the second play. But unfortunately, Prep couldn’t convert on the opportunity after throwing an interception 4 plays later. Taking advantage of this opportunity, BC relentlessly ran the ball against Prep’s defense, eventually leading to a 3 yard touchdown run by Lutz. With only 1:33 left in the half, Prep needed to score badly before the half ended. Thankfully, Mischler was able to set his team up with better field position after taking the ball himself multiple times and running for about 36 yards for the whole drive. With just 20 seconds left in the quarter, Lucas was able to use this field position to run for 21 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.
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In the second half, Prep started with the football at BC’s 49 yard line. And coming out of the locker room still hot was Lucas, who ran the ball on the very first play of the drive all the way into the end zone. This play helped spur momentum for the Ramblers for the rest of the game on both sides of the ball. After this fantastic run, Prep held the Saints to just 3 points for the rest of the game.Following the carry by Lucas, BC’s kicker Jamin Smith put the ball through the uprights for a field goal on the next drive, putting the Saints closer to a potential victory.
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After a failed 4 path down conversion on Prep’s next drive, Berks was at the 28 yard line and had a chance to change the tide of the game. But the Rambler’s defense held strong and performed well in the clutch, eventually forcing BC’s own failed 4th down conversion. Making sure that this game changing defensive stop was not put to waste, Prep gave the reigns of the drive to Lucas and Matthew Bauer. After a 16 yard, physical run by Bauer, Lucas had the field position he needed to score a touchdown. After two more rushing attempts, Billy finally scored with 1:21 left in the 3rd quarter.
Being down 35-17 with only one quarter left in the game, Berks needed to score a touchdown to give them a chance at seizing victory. They seemed close to doing this too on their first drive of the quarter, making it as far as Prep’s 20 yard line before the Ramblers put their foot down and stopped them on 4th down, giving Prep the ball. With the clock winding down, it seemed like CP was going to win the contest. But the real nail in the coffin was when Lucas ran from Prep’s 11 yard line all the way into the end zone for 89 yards on 3rd down.
With only 4:40 left in the game and the Saints being down 25 points, the chance of a comeback was next to zero. Berks attempted to put some more points on the board but were denied by Prep’s defense, who came up with two more interceptions between the four minute mark and the end of the game. To conclude the contest, Mischler took a knee to run the clock out, leading to a Rambler victory over the Saints.
Finishing 13-1 this season, the Saints had an outstanding season. Berks Catholic finished this year as the highest scoring team in their school’s history, and made it to the state semi finals for the second year in a row. As for Prep, they will continue their season into the state championship game for the third year in a row against Imhotep Charter. While Imhotep has lost many players since last year and even had their best player, Isheem Young, arrested during their semi final contest this evening for a crime committed in the summer, you can never count out Imhotep. The final game will be played at Hersheypark Stadium on December 7th at 7:00 pm.
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