Notre Dame Impressive In Historic Win Over Massive Opposition
By Brian Ptashinski @BPtashinski on Twitter
BETHLEHEM- The difference was obvious during pregame warmups and begged the question: How would Notre Dame handle the size advantage Del Val Charter brings into the contest? The answer: They would play at a higher level Saturday afternoon at Bethlehem School District Stadium. In the end the Crusaders advanced to the programs’ first PIAA State Class 3A Semifinals with a convincing 36-22 win over the Warriors.
Notre Dame coach Phil Stambaugh said after the game, “We knew what Delaware Valley was bringing into this game. We had to play like champions. They had to battle through some adversity and got the win. That’s a credit to this team.”
Facing a team that boasted an offensive line that averaged over 290 pounds, the Crusaders used their athleticism on both sides of the line of scrimmage to wear down the District 12 champions.
Behind the running of Mitch Daniel, who scored three times and rushed for 38 yards on 17 tallies and the arm of quarterback Cole DeFranco, Notre Dame picked up their 12th win on the season.
The Crusaders scored on their second possession on a two-yard run by Daniel nearing the four minute mark of the first quarter after Daniel was on the receiving end of a 4-yard pass from DeFranco to set his team up at the Warriors 16.
The Warriors took advantage of a poor punt by Notre Dame and set up shop at the Crusader 37 near the eleven minute mark of the second quarter. The drive culminated with an 11-yard run by Azyear Sutton-Walker. The two point conversion failed leaving the score 7-6 with 8:20 left before half.
That score seemed to fire up Notre Dame, however, as they went on a 21-0 run to close out the half leading 28-6. Daniel scored from ten yards out with 5:57 left on the clock completing a 50-yard drive. DeFranco connected with Isaiah DeJesus at the one minute mark on a two-yard pass making the score 21-6. The defense then held the Warriors on a quick three-and-out and a taking over at the Del Val 30 on a punt return. Jalen Simpson took a speed sweep 17 yards with 17 ticks left in the quarter.
“Del Val can score from anywhere on the field,” Stambaugh said. “We have our work cut out for us against their size.”
The Warriors came out on a tear to open the second half as they took possession at their 35 and drove 65 yards behind the running of Zamir Davis and Sutton-Walker, Del Val drove to the Crusaders five-yard line, where Davis took it in on fourth down. Isaiah Jones ran in the two-point conversion cutting the lead to 28-14 Notre Dame was forced to punt after just three plays and Del val took over on the 42 of the Crusaders. Two plays later Davis darted in from 37 yards out. Charles Britt converted the two-point conversion making the score 28-22 with 5:43 left in the third quarter.
Notre Dame, regained their composure on the ensuing drive going 66 yards with the key play being a 25-yard pass from DeFranco to Jon Moran to the Warrior one. Daniel’s picked up his third score from there extending the lead to 36-22 with Jalen Simpson on the receiving end of the two point conversion pass from DeFranco with 2:55 left in third closing out the scoring.
Notre Dame (12-2) will face Middletown (13-0) who defeated Scranton Prep 40-13 Friday night. The game is scheduled for Hersheypark Stadium Friday night at 7pm, with the winner advancing to the state championship game.
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