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The Battle of the Bishops turned out to be a fight until the end.

Written by: on Saturday, December 4th, 2021. Follow Sean McBryan on Twitter.

 

Bishop McDevitt held off Bishop Shanahan for a 28-21 victory in the PIAA Class 4A semifinals Friday night at Coatesville High School.

The District 3 champion Crusaders (12-1) move on to face District 7 champion Aliquippa, a 41-16 winner over Jersey Shore, in the title game in Hershey. It’s the first state championship game for the Crusaders since 2013.

The Crusaders did it by being backed with big plays from its stars, such as Old Dominion commit Mario Easterly and coveted DI-prospect Marquese Williams, but a tipped pass and pick-6 both by linebacker Nate Kinsey for a 29-yard touchdown extended the lead to the largest of the game at 28-14 with 7:08 remaining in the third quarter.

Bishop Shanahan quarterback Cooper Jordan, who made plays with his arm and legs all day for the Eagles (11-4), returned the ensuing kickoff for 91 yards after his fellow returner pitched it to him on a reverse and the Eagles were within a score.

Bishop Shanahan ended up punting on its next three drives, with punter Zane Domsohn putting the Crusaders in difficult field position, but Bishop McDevitt started to chew the clock with Williams, who had 106 rushing yards, and Cyncir Bowers, who finished with 53.

The Eagles had a final opportunity from their own 37 with 2:55 after forcing the Crusaders to punt, but their final effort on fourth-and-10 from Bishop McDevitt’s 27 ended in a 3-yard run.

Bishop Shanahan running back and linebacker Brandon Choi, who holds offers from Dayton, Penn, and Fordham, scored the game’s first touchdown on a 13-yard reception to make it 7-0 with 5:48 left in the first quarter.

Easterly caught a 16-yard pass from Stone Saunders to tie it at 7 with 2:05 left.

Jordan scored on a 7-yard run with 7:32 left in the second quarter and the Eagles retook the lead at 14-7.

Williams, a junior who holds offers from 22 DI schools including Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan State, and Cincinnati, burst for a 25-yard score with 4:09 left in the half. Choi got through to block the extra point and Bishop Shanahan still led 14-13.

After a 3-and-out to begin the third quarter, the Eagles punted to Easterly who took it 38 yards to the 13. The Crusaders scored three plays later on Bowers’ 4-yard run and converted the two-point conversion to make it 21-14, and it felt like the momentum was beginning to shift.

“I mean I thought I was going to score,” Easterly said with a laugh. “My eyes were in the end zone but I had so many blockers in front of me and it was just them and the sideline and I had nowhere else to go. It was great though, set us up for a touchdown.”

Bishop Shanahan took over on offense and that’s when Bishop McDevitt senior backer Kinsey swatted Jordan’s pass and caught his own deflection going 29 yards to the house to push the lead to 28-14 with 7:08 left in the third.

“Once I saw that ball go up I got it,” Kinsey said. “I saw the end zone in front of me and knew I had to get that touchdown for the team. It felt amazing.”

Easterly had been to this point in his career as a freshman, but came out on the losing end to the tune of a 48-7 drumming to Cathedral Prep. The Crusaders last won a state title in 1995. Needless to say this one meant a lot to Easterly, Kinsey and the rest of the team.

“I just wanted to go out with a bang,” Easterly said. “My senior year I wanted to do what a lot of McDevitt teams haven’t done in the past: Go to a state championship. We haven’t won a state championship in so long so just to be here my senior year is crazy.”

Any thoughts on Hershey?

“I’m super pumped we worked so hard for this,” Kinsey said. “We deserve this and I think we can do it. I know Aliquippa is a good team, but we’re a good team too.”

“It’s going to be fun, man,” Easterly said. “Stay tuned. That’s all I got to say.”

STATS:

Bishop Shanahan
Passing: Jordan 12-24-1–126 (TD), Whitehill 1-1-0–4.
Rushing: Jordan 14-45 (TD), McGrory 4-15, Romano 1-11, Choi 4-10, Whitehill 5-5.
Receiving: Kapczynski 4-45, McGrory 4-41, Romano 2-14, Choi 1-13 (TD), Whitehill 1-13, Jordan 1-4.
Penalty: 5-45.
Punt-avg: 6-37.7.
First downs: 13.
Fumbles-lost: 2-0.

Bishop McDevitt
Passing: Saunders 5-11-1–90 (TD).
Rushing: Williams 22-106 (TD), Bowers 11-53 (TD), Easterly 1-(-3), Saunders 1-(-10).
Receiving: Easterly 3-35 (TD), Foster 1-38, Scott 1-17.
Penalties: 12-113.
Punt-avg: 5-35.2.
First downs: 11.
Fumbles-lost: 1-0.

Scoring Summary
Bishop McDevitt 7 6 15 0 — 28
Bishop Shanahan 7 7 7 0 — 21

1st Quarter
BS-Choi 13 pass from Jordan (Domsohn kick) – 5:48
McD-Easterly 16 pass from Saunders (Chiha kick) – 2:05

2nd Quarter
BS-Jordan 7 run (Domsohn kick) – 7:32
McD-Williams 25 run (Chiha kick blocked) – 4:09

3rd Quarter
McD-Bowers 4 run (Easterly pass from Saunders) – 9:11
McD-Kinsey 29 INT (Chiha kick) – 7:08
BS-Jordan 91 kick return (Domsohn kick) – 6:52

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