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Schuylkill Haven Overpowers West Catholic To Advance In Playoffs

Written by: on Sunday, November 20th, 2016. Follow Brian Ptashinski on Twitter.


By Brian Ptashisnki @BPtashinski on Twitter

brianweek122016aSLATINGTON- The chant of “coal region football” rang out Saturday afternoon at Northern Lehigh High School, as the Hurricanes of Schuylkill Haven took the field against the speed and athleticism of West Catholic in a PIAA 2A state playoff game. When all was said and done, the Hurricanes prevailed in dominating fashion to the tune of a 41-12 victory. Schuylkill Haven (12-1) advances to face defending state champion Southern Columbia (13-0) at a site to be determined.

Schuylkill Haven wasted little time getting on the board after holding the Burrs on four downs deep in their own end of the field to start the game. The Hurricanes forced a punt a took over at the West Catholic 40. A few plays later quarterback Danny Lozada, dashed through the defense on his way to a 29-yard score to give his team a 7-0 lead at the 8:37 mark.

The Hurricanes would drive down to the Burrs 22 late in the opening quarter, but Lozada’s pass was picked off in the back of the end zone, giving West Catholic the ball at the 20. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Da’vion Kidd-Jackson connected with Ahmad Kent on a screen pass. Eighty yards later the Burrs were within a PAT of tying the game. However with no place-kicker, they tried for two and were stopped short leaving the score at 7-6

That score would hold up for nearly the rest of the half. West Catholic was setting up in punt formation when a bad snap forced the Burrs to make a run for the first down, but was stopped shy of the markers. Schuylkill Haven took over with under a minute to play at the West Catholic 44. Faced with a third-and 7 at the 41 with 14 ticks on the clock, the Burrs took a timeout. That gave Haven coach Mike Farr time to second guess just running out the clock and they went into the locker room with a one point lead. Instead, he decided to go for broke, and call for a pass play. Preston Gehring, came across in motion, snuck out in the flat and Lozada hit him in stride down the sideline, stunning the Burrs defense. He waltzed in for a score with just 4.7 left on the clock and taking a 14-6 lead at intermission.

“It was huge momentum swing. We call that play in practice all the time and it always works. So when they took the timeout, it gave me the chance to pull it out at the perfect time,” said Coach Farr. “The kids all got excited when I called it and Danny did a great job in executing it. Preston did his job catching it.”

Haven received the second half kickoff and returned it to their own 49. From there they drove it to the Burrs three where the drive stalled. Dawson Evitts came in and connected on a 20-yard field goal extending the lead to 17-6 using up nearly half the quarter on the drive.

On the ensuing kickoff, West Catholic fumbled and Haven took over at the 13. Lozada took it from a yard out on a sneak and extended the lead to 25-6. After a Burrs penalty on the conversion, Haven went for two with Mike Kalyan bulling his way into the end zone.

Evitts connected on a 33-yard field goal midway through the fourth, after taking over on downs at the West Catholic 44. This chewed up the yards via the ground and pound attack throughout the second half.

West Catholic managed to cut the lead to 28-12, as backup quarterback Anthony Mirabile completed a 43-yard scoring pass to Amadou Barry with 5:31 left in the contest. But then freshman sensation Kobe Brish, took over from there for the Hurricanes as he had two scores from 15 and 10 yards out closing the deal.

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