Berks Catholic claims District Three 4A Title
HERSHEY – The District Three AAAA final was a tale of two programs. Berks Catholic came into the season with lofty expectations. The (11-1) Saints are a perennial powerhouse in AA. District titles in 2013 and 2015 sandwiched a title game loss in 2014. The only question mark was how the Saints would fare against some larger programs this season. The Greyhounds of Shippensburg have been a team searching for respect all season. An (11-1) regular season mark got the Greyhounds a #2 playoff seed. A last minute quarterfinal win over District Three royalty in Bishop McDevitt got the Greyhounds to Hershey for the first time. Something had to give. Berks Catholic jumped out quickly. Then the Saints methodically grounded and pounded Shippensburg in the second half. Berks Catholic claimed the PIAA District Three title 37-13 over Shippensburg Saturday afternoon in Hershey.
Berks Catholic was led by Cooper Lutz. Coming back from a broken leg sustained during the regular season, Lutz had two TD runs of 56 and six yards. Cooper also played a great defensive game by locking down on key Shippensburg receivers in the second half.
Berks Catholic Head Coach Rick Keely had high praise for his team and Cooper Lutz following the game, “Offensively we had to keep the ball away from them. The offense put it on their shoulders to keep their offense off the field. All the backs ran hard today, making for an outstanding effort by the whole team. Our defensive line gave us a great pass rush and the second half we had Cooper locked on their best receiver. We had to give the ball a lot to Cooper today and he did not disappoint.” Cooper Lutz said after the game, “I am pretty excited right now. It is a blessing coming back right now in the District championships. We have worked hard all season and it feels like it is really paying off right now. ”
The first time Berks Catholic touched the ball in the game it went for a touchdown. The Saints defense forced a punt on Shippensburg’s opening possession and Tre Dabney took the return 65 yards to the house to put BC up 7-0. Shippensburg was forced to punt on their next possession.
Then another big play by the Saints. A 56-yard sprint by Cooper Lutz made it Berks Catholic 14 Shippensburg 0 with 2:56 left in quarter one. Shippensburg answered right back. Two big completions to Greyhound standout receiver Cody Gustafson set up a Cam Tinner TD. The score was14-7 as we went to quarter two.
— Bruce Badgley (@BadgleyBruce) November 25, 2016
Drives by both BC and Shippensburg to start quarter two yielded no points. After an exchange of turnovers Berks Catholic took over at the Shippensburg 35. Two plays later, Saints QB Terrance Derr hit Brian Tanis on a controversial 32 yard TD. The score was 21-7 Saints with 4:07 till half. There was no quit in the Greyhounds. Shippensburg’s next possession moved right down the field and culminated in a Cam Tinner end zone dive again. We went into the half with Berks Catholic up 21-13.
Berks Catholic took the second half kick and marched down the field. The drive consumed 5:28 of the third quarter but led only to a 31-yard FG by Jamin Smith. 24-13 Saints. The BC defense stiffened and the Saints next possession started near mid field. The ensuing Berks Catholic drive hit pay-dirt. Cooper Lutz’s six-yard TD and all of a sudden Berks Catholic was pulling away 31-13.
The fourth quarter was a mirror image of the third. The Berks Catholic defense gave up nothing and the Saints offense ground the ball down the field. QB Terrance Derr put the exclamation point on the Berks Catholic win with a one-yard dive. The final was Berks Catholic 37 Shippensburg 13
This was the third PIAA District Three title in four years for Berks Catholic. The Saints move on in the PIAA tourney to face the Cathedral Prep next week. A great season ends for Shippensburg as they finish with an 11-2 record.
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