Guilfoyle Punches Ticket to Hershey with Sweet Victory
by Phil Myers
On a cool and rainy night at Mansell Stadium in DuBois, the Bishop Guilfoyle Marauders defeated the South Williamsport Mountaineers 28-21 in the much anticipated Eastern PIAA Class A final. The game featured Pennsylvania’s all-time single season rushing and touchdown leader in the Mounties’ Dominick Bragalone against one of the best defenses in the state and a not too shabby offense as well in Bishop Gulifoyle. The Marauder defense came up big by forcing three turnovers and holding the Mounties, who averaged 51 points a game coming into the contest, to 21 points. But, Bragalone added to his prolific totals by rushing for 351 yards on 42 carries and scoring all three touchdowns.
The Marauders won the toss and elected to receive. On their fourth play, QB Brandon Chadbourne was picked off by Nate Koletar who returned it nine yards to the BG 40. On second down Bragalone, the 5’11” 210 lb. senior took the hand off and broke loose for 24 yards. As Guilfoyle’s Sam McCloskey made the tackle, he stole the pigskin off Bragalone and BG had the ball back at its own 13. It took them only five plays to draw first blood. Chadbourn ran 30 yards for the TD to put the Marauders up 7-0 after the PAT with 7:52 left in the first. Chadbourn also had a 45 yard run on the second play of the drive. After an exchange of punts, S. Williamsport started their third series at their own 35. The drive ended twelve plays later when Bragalone raced 28 yards for his first score to tie the game at 7 with 8:24 left in the half.
The Marauders answered right back. On the first play Chadbourn connected with sam Keating for 44 yards to the S.W. 21. A couple of plays later McCloskey ran 13 yards to the Mountie 4. McCloskey gained a yard, then D J Kitt busted in from 3 yards out and with the PAT Gulifoyle led 14-7 at the 6:01 mark. After the kickoff, the Mountaineers started at their own 13 and drove 44 yards to the Marauder 43 where they faced a fourth and five. Little did anyone know, but the next play was the biggest play of the game. QB Matt Boone dropped back to pass and rolled to his right, lofting a short pass to an open receiver. But it didn’t get there as Aaron Yasulitis, one of BG’s linebackers, leaped high into the air and with one hand gathered in the pass, then went 53 yards for the pick six. Josh Trybus’s third PAT made it 21-7 with 2:05 left. South williamsport started at their 35, after the kickoff went out of bounds, and marched to BG’s 24 before time ran out.
South’s first possession of the second half resulted in a punt. BG took over at their 27. Led by McCloskey’s 5 carries for 46 yards, they drove to the Mountie 8. On fourth and two, the S. Williamsport defense stopped Kitt for no gain. Dominick Bragalone then carried the ball 8 times for 90 yards on their 92 yard touchdown drive. He scored on a nice 31 yard run to put the Mounties within one score at 21-14 with 2:25 left in the third. Again, the purple and gold Marauders answered as champions usually do. Chadbourn to BG’s big TE Matt Gormley for 16 on third down kept the drive alive. Then, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Chadbourn showed his speed by going 37 yards to cap the 66 yard drive. Now Guilfoyle was back up by two scores 28-14.
But the game was far from over. On the third play of the Mounties’ next series, Bragalone ran 64 yards to pull S.W. within striking distance again. Down 28-21 the Mounties needed a stop. And they got it forcing a BG punt. A short kick gave S. Williamsport the ball at their 45. On the first play Bragalone went 9 yards, but fumbled and Chadbourn recovered for the BG Marauders. The Mountaineer defense did their job and held again forcing another Guifoyle punt. Starting at their 27, South Williamsport’s big blue and white #32 ran 4 plays for 21 yards to their 48. Then , with a little over two minutes to play on a fourth and four, McCloskey and the rest of the tough Bishop Guilfoyle defense stuffed Bragalone for a yard loss. Two eleven yard runs by McCloskey sealed the victory for BG and after taking a knee three times the Marauders and their fans jubilantly celebrated the win and making their first trip to Hershey. They will face the undefeated WPIAL champ, Clairton, a 54-18 winner over Sharpsville next Friday afternoon.
Game notes: BG was led by Chadbourn who carried the ball for 140 yards and passed for another 89 completing 4 of 8. McCloskey hit the century mark also rushing for 107 yards. Guilfoyle has now outscored their opponents 696-89 in 15 games. South Williamsport was led by Bragalone whose totals for the year are mind boggling. He finishes with 67 TDs and over 4700 yards rushing in one year!! It is our understanding that he had the second most prolific season in the U.S. ever. The Guilfoyle players were impressed with Bragalone, but they did what was necessary on defense to contain the Mountie offense ultimately holding them to a season low 21 points. Guilfoyle’s coach, Justin Wheeler, stated “The guys worked very hard and I couldn’t be prouder of them. To play for a state championship means a lot.”
Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball
Share This Post: