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High School Spotlight

September 5, 2011
Pardon Ridley’s starting quarterback Matt Davis for being nervous prior to Friday night’s season opening non league contest against Inter Ac power Malvern Prep. Just how nervous was Davis?  “I was so nervous, I felt like I was going to throw up all day,” he said adding that once he arrived at Phil Merion Field the nerves went away. Davis’ completion percentage was not too good as he completed only five of 13 passes but they amassed 234 yards and two touchdowns as the Green Raiders overcame a 20-7 deficit to down the Friars 21-20 in battle of Southeastern PA Heavyweights.
After going three-and-out to open the season the Green Raiders defense seemed to start slow allowing the Friars to drive down to their 25 yardline before toughing up and forcing the Friars to turn the ball over on downs. The first quarter ended with a scoreless tie.
In the second quarter the Green Raiders looked poised to take a 3-0 lead but their field goal was blocked by Northwestern commit Connor Mahoney. Blake Gunther scooped up the loose ball and raced down the Green Raider sideline 88 yards for the touchdown. The lead was short lived however as on the very next play from scrimmage Davis connected with Jalen Randolph on a swing pass and Randolph raced 74 yards to tie things up at 7 at intermission.
Paul Finley gave the Friars the lead in the third quarter with his four-yard touchdown plunge. Shawn Wilson added to the lead in the fourth quarter with a ten yard touchdown run but the extra point failed and the Friars were up 20-7.
Back came the Green Raiders on the ensuing drive with a two play 44 yard drive that resulted in Davis connecting with Mike Smoluk for the touchdown.
Following a three and out the Green Raiders were back on the attack and got a huge play from Mike Crowley who hauled in a pass from Davis and took it 82 yards down to the Malvern eight yard line. On the next play Crowley ran it in for the touchdown. The extra point was good and the Green Raiders had now battled all the way back. The Friars had two chances but ended with a interception by Randolph and a turnover on downs preserving the victory.
Next week the Green Raiders will host the Haverford Fords in the teams Central League opener while Malvern will travel to take on Roman Catholic.
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CATAWISSA- The 2011 football season opened in resounding fashion at Tiger Stadium as Southern Columbia hosted fellow top-ten, state-ranked Line Mountain. These two premier class A teams are no stranger to each other or to hard-nosed football. The Eagles spread offense, piloted by quarterback Marty Beninsky, proved difficult to corral for the Tiger defense. However, Southern’s Wing-T, featuring an entirely new backfield, proved nearly impossible for the Eagles to stop. The rushing trio of Casey Savitski, Tyler Levan, and (converted tight-end) Matt Moore put on a veritable running clinic en route to their school’s 400th all-time victory. The win also marks the fourth time in-a-row that Southern defeated an otherwise unbeaten Line Mountain team.
The Eagles got the ball to open the game with Beninsky pounding it forward on three consecutive plays before a bobbled hand-off and an incomplete pass stalled the drive.
The Tigers came up a yard short of a first down on their opening three plays and decided to punt deep into Eagle territory. The punt was muffed by the return-man and recovered at Line Mountain’s 5 yard marker. On the following play Savitski darted in for the opening score.
Once again the Tiger defense held strong with Keith Day up-ending Beninsky at the line-of-scrimmage. Southern had the ball back in short order, setting up an eight-play, 75 yard drive for another score. The series featured a 20 yard burst by Savitsky and Moore’s first touches as a running back of 7 and 20 yards respectively. A false start penalty forced SC into a third & 15 situation at the LM 23. Quarterback, Brad Fegley called his own number and proved he has some good legs as well, cutting to the outside and racing 23 yards into the end zone. The score was 14-0.
Everything seemed to be going Southern’s way, but the Eagles were nowhere near ready to throw in the towel. Forced into a punting situation after just four plays, LM caught its first brake on an encroachment penalty which yielded them a fresh set of downs. Then a personal foul call got them to the Tiger 26. Three snaps later, Kyle Troutman flew through a huge hole in the middle of the line and went 17 yards for the score. The PAT by Austin Snyder made it 14-7 in favor of Southern.
The Tigers answered right back after a short kick-off was covered at the Tiger 33. A 30 yard toss from Fegley to Day got them deep into Eagle territory at the 26. On third & two at the 18 yard line Moore got his third shot at carrying the leather. Once again he showed his ability to find a seam before turning on the jets for an 18 yard touchdown.
Not to be outdone, after the kick-off Troutman once again found a hole and out-ran the defenders. The 63 yard touchdown run was the longest of the game  and more than doubled Line Mountain’s total offense up to that point. Moore blocked the PAT attempt leaving the score 21-13 – the shoot-out was on!… Or was it?
Things settled down a bit for the remainder of the first half.  SC’s next drive fizzled after a sack by Luke Erdman and Alex Karlovich, a holding call, and two incomplete passes. For their part, the Eagles could only net three yards on three plays before punting. Then Southern started to roll again. Levan was finding his feet and pounded the ball forward on a 19 yard run to the Eagle 15. Four plays later, on fourth & four at the nine, Levan rumbled in for the score. However it was denied due to an illegal block call which occurred after he crossed the goal line. Instead of a score the ball was given back on downs to the Eagles. With the final minutes of the half ticking away, SC’s defense played prevent and kept the score at 21-13 going into the locker rooms.
With the first possession of the second half, Southern capitalized quickly. The Eagles were kicking short line-drives to keep the ball out of the hands of the speedster return men (Moore & Day). That only provided the Tigers with good field position to start their drives. After two rushes by Levan, netting ten yards and a first and ten near mid-field, Moore got the hand-off and would not be denied.  Shedding tacklers and breaking loose in the defensive backfield, he bulleted 55 yards for his second TD.
Trailing 28-13, the Eagles needed to make something happen. After an excellent kick-return by Troutman to near mid-filed, Beninsky engineered LM’s best drive of the game, going 53 yards on nine plays, capped by a keeper around the left side for the three yard TD. The two-point conversion failed when Beninsky’s pass sailed high, leaving the score 28-19.
Southern kept the ball on the ground and the clock running as the O-line surged forward and the runners pounded the rock right at the defenders. Levan rumbled for 23, Moore clawed his way for 25, and Savistski punched it in from the five to go up 35-19.
After trading series, Line Mountain was able to score one more time. On his only carry, Austin Snyder found the middle wide open and blasted 43 yards to pay dirt. Another  two-point conversion pass sailed high and the score left the Eagles in the hunt at 35-25.
To make sure LM’s potent offense didn’t get the chance for a come-back, the backfield did what they do best. Levan had punishing rushes of 22, 10, and 12 yards, where he just ran straight through the defensive players, plowing his way down field. Finally Savitsky sealed the deal with a 22 yard score. Dylan Swank went six for six on PAT’s, and this game was in the books at 42-25.
LINE MOUNTAIN (0-1) Showed no let-up in this game. Their offense is potent and dangerous from anywhere on the filed. Marty Beninsky went 9/19 passing for 94 yards. On the ground he gained 99 yards on 19 carries and one TD. Kyle Troutman netted 110 yards on 9 carries with two touchdowns, and Austin Snyder scored a 43 yard TD on his lone rush. The Eagles travel to Panther Valley next week to take on JIM THORPE (0-1) before starting Twin Valley Conference play at WILLIAMS VALLEY (0-1) on week three. You can expect Coach Carson’s Eagles to be one of the best teams in the TVC again this season. You can also expect to see them challenging the Tigers again in the District IV play-off.
SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (1-0) Answered a lot of questions in their opener against a quality opponent. Questions regarding how well they could overcome the loss of all-state RB Tyrell Thomas were quickly laid to rest. Matt Moore stepped into the role and was the night’s leading rusher with 142 yards and two touchdowns on only nine carries. That comes to a whopping 15.8 yards per carry. Tyler Levan compiled 140 yards on 19 touches, and Casey Savitski rushed for 85 yards on 14 carries with three touchdowns. In Brad Fegley’s debut at QB, he rushed for 44 yards and a TD and threw seven times with three completions for 46 yards. Kieth Day caught two passes for 30 & 13 yards. In all, the Tigers rushed for 326 yards and six touchdowns. One question that remains is how well the defense will be able to regroup and fix some of their deficiencies. As coach Roth pointed out, there are many players playing in new positions so there will be a learning curve until it all comes together. The Tigers host MONTOURSVILLE(1-0) next week to start Heartland Conference action.
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MONROEVILLE, Pa. – Having a great defense goes a long, long way.  And if that great defense can set up several short field opportunities for its offense, it gets even better.
Meet the Gateway Gators, who got a stout defensive effort in their season opener against the defending PIAA AAA runners-up.
Gateway (1-0) limited Bishop McDevitt (0-1) to just 167 yards of offense, including a paltry 39 on the ground, and forced three second half turnovers to pull away for a 28-7 victory from a soaking wet Antimarino Stadium in Monroeville.  The game was the nightcap of the Gateway Kickoff Classic.
Mind you, the meeting between Gateway and McDevitt was thought to play into a showcase of two unrelenting defensive units, as the District 3 champion Crusaders returned nine of 11 starters from a unit which blanked Gateway one year ago in Harrisburg.  Defensive end Noah Spence and linebacker Brock Dean, a Maryland recruit, headline the unit, and Gators’ boss Terry Smith explained the black and gold’s game plan was to attack Spence all night long.
“(Offensively), we went right at him,” Smith said.  “The game plan was to go right at him because if we didn’t, he’s a ‘reader’ and can react to where plays are going.  He (Spence) is one of the fastest defensive end we’ve ever seen.”
The Gators offensive effort this night – 221 yards, 197 of which came on the ground – wasn’t flashy, save for the opening drive when dual-threat junior Thomas Woodson scooted 50 yards to the McDevitt 1 yard line on Gateway’s third play from scrimmage.  One play later, Darin Franklin made it 7-0 on a run up the middle.
Play was stopped for an hour with 10:53 left in the second quarter as a heavy thunderstorm rolled through the area, bringing with it vivid lightning and torrential rains.  More heavy rain stayed to the south and west during the remainder of the contest, but officials shortened halftime in order to complete the game before additional precipitation came.
McDevitt was getting together its best offensive possession of the game to that point, stringing together three first downs on Alec Werner passes of eight yards to Shaun Seif and 11 yards to Nate Showalter and a 15-yard run by sophomore Rashad Lawson.  After play resumed, it only took two snaps for the Crusaders to knot things up at 7, as Dean crashed in from one yard out.
That’s how things stayed until halftime, score-wise, until the second half, when the Gators broke things open, thanks to their defense.
After Devante Werner picked off Werner three plays into the third stanza, Gateway took just five plays to score on a short 32-yard drive, thanks to Woodson’s 24-yard connection with Franklin and #5′s second touchdown run, another of the one-yard variety.
McDevitt proceeded to go three-and-out, and Gateway took its sweet time – 6:32 of game clock – to be exact – to go 55 yards, capped with Franklin’s third one-yard touchdown run of the night.
Eleven seconds later, Gateway went up 28-7 when Brian Jones scooped up a Lawson fumble and rumbled 23 yards down the home sideline, literally breaking McDevitt’s backs and putting the game well out of reach.
“Our defense is experienced,” Smith said. “Our defensive ends were so quick off the ball tonight.  Our unit played very well, and we play 11 men to the ball.  We played a full 48 minutes, not without some mistakes, but the effort was there.  And that’s what we want to see.”
Walking off the field, Weachter could be heard talking with his assistants about getting the offense to start clicking so the defense didn’t have to continually bail the blue and gold out.
“We made too many mistakes,” Weachter said.  “Things just aren’t quite there yet in the passing game.  With the defense we have, we cannot continually turn the ball over.
“They’re a tough football team,” Weachter continued. “It was a tough opener for Werner to make his first varsity start at quarterback against a team like that.  We’ve got to keep our heads above water through these first four games.”
McDevitt got a 13-of-22 night from its junior field general with 129 passing yards and one interception.  Lawson added a team-high 71 yards on 11 carries and freshman Andre Robinson added 12 yards on seven carries and Darnell Holland five yards on three totes.
Gateway got a game-high 104 yards on 12 carries from Woodson, and Franklin posted 41 yards on 11 carries and Graham Davis chipped in with 54 yards on six carries.  Woodson finished 2-of-5 for 24 yards, but he did not commit any turnovers.  The Gators did commit eight penalties for 60 yards to McDevitt’s four flags for 30 yards.
NOTES: The Gators honored fallen teammate Darrell Turner during a poignant pregame ceremony.  Turner was tragically killed in a shooting over the summer months in Durham, N.C.  At the conclusion of the ceremony, Gateway cheerleaders released a bundle of black, gold and white balloons into the air.  The Gateway team will honor Turner by wearing his number 25 on their helmets and Turner’s jersey will accompany the team to all games, both home and away.
“That was one of the hardest things our team has ever had to deal with,” Smith said.  “I wasn’t sure how our kids would come out tonight.  During the ceremony, there were tears in all of our eyes.”
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MONROEVILLE, Pa. – There’s something about the big stage of Pittsburgh Central Catholic’s season openers and the performances of Damion Jones-Moore.
The career 3,400-yard rusher torched Youngstown Ursuline for more than 200 yards in 2009, then ran for 110 more to open the Vikings’ 2010 opener against eventual Ohio state champ Akron Buchtel.  So 2011 figured to be no different, especially since Central’s game with Archbishop Wood was being televised nationally on ESPN2.
“He set his mind that he was going to have a great game,” said Central Catholic head coach Terry Totten. “He knew Peoples (Archbishop Wood’s senior back Desmon Peoples) was a great back with BCS offers.”
Pittsburgh Central Catholic (1-0) got a game-high 192 rushing yards on 17 carries from Jones-Moore and got a game-sealing 69-yard run from quarterback Perry Hills to fend off a physical, punishing, rugged effort from Archbishop Wood (0-1) for a 20-17 victory in the Gateway Kickoff Classic from Antimarino Stadium in Monroeville.
The ending wasn’t without controversy – Archbishop Wood kicker Nick Visco lined up to attempt a game-tying 40-yard field goal with 1:14 left in the game, but the kick was ruled to have sailed just slightly wide of the left upright of the north goal post.  Visco stood in shock on the field after the call.  It was his second field goal attempt of the game ruled no good.
“I thought it went through (the uprights), but I’m not standing out there in the center of the field,” said Wood head coach Steve Devlin. “The only thing you can do is to take the negative and turn it into a positive.”
Central Catholic head coach Terry Totten tipped his hat to Wood.
“We were fortunate to get a stop,” Totten said.  “They (Wood) are one hell of a football team – they’re big up front and have a lot of skill behind it.  They played a heck of a football game today.”
Central Catholic, the state’s consensus #1 AAAA team, got pushed right from the onset.  After forcing a three-and-out, Wood went 61 yards in four plays – all runs – to take a 7-0 lead on a Brandon Peoples 29-yard touchdown run on a trap play, coming out of the gate like gangbusters.
“They used the tailback and fullback effectively,” Totten said.  “That’s very tough to stop when a team runs it as good as Wood.”
“We did what we wanted to do,” Devlin said of Wood’s early game plan.
Central Catholic fired back quickly to break its goose egg.  Jones-Moore scored on a 51-yard run to slice Wood’s advantage to 7-6 with 3:19 left in the opening stanza, set up by a 39-yard connection from Hills to Brandon Farrell.  Jones-Moore’s big touchdown run lifted Central’s running game out of the doldrums, as up until that point, PCC had only four team carries for one solitary yard.
Wood widened its margin to 10-6 with 11:10 left in the first half on a Visco 35-yard field goal, but within two plays, the PCL reps were out of the lead.
Jones-Moore busted a 70-yard touchdown and Central had itself a 13-10 lead just 25 seconds after Visco’s field goal.  The scoring run was made possible by a punishing pancake block from PCC senior fullback Rob Brown, allowing Jones-Moore to find the sideline and rocket away from the Wood defense.
“I had great blocking (on that run),” Jones-Moore said.  “I wouldn’t want anyone else beside Rob Brown blocking for me.”
The game appeared to be swinging towards Central Catholic’s favor when Hills (6-of-13, 122 yards) hooked up with fellow Maryland recruit Anthony Nixon (4 rec., 75 yards) on a 33-yard touchdown pass with 2:41 left in the third quarter, capping a 13-play, 76-yard, 6:10-drive.  Nixon caught three of his four passes on that drive.
But Wood was not done.  Brandon Peoples brought Wood to within 20-17 on its ensuing possession thanks to a 19-yard scoring run.  After both teams combined for three three-and-outs, that set the stage for Wood’s final drive.
Hatboro-Horsham transfer Benji Abercrombie got behind the Central Catholic defense and southpaw Joey Monaghan lofted a spiral his way, resulting in a momentum-shifting 57-yard completion to the CC 13 yard line.  That momentum, however, was short-lived, as the teams were called off the field for a 30-minute weather delay, believed to be caused by lightning in the area.
“We thought we had it (set up),” Devlin said. “We ran some crossing action and Benji got behind them.”
On Wood’s third play following the stoppage, Monaghan was sacked for a 10-yard loss, setting the stage for Visco’s game-tying 40-yard field goal attempt.
Wood finished the day with 335 yards of offense – an impressive 226 of that came by way of the ground game, spearheaded by the line play of Nick Arcidiacono, Brandon Arcidiacono, Frank Taylor, Fran Walsh, George Griffin and tight end Colin Thompson.  Desmon Peoples finished with 102 yards on 23 carries; Brandon Peoples added 87 yards on nine totes; Monaghan finished with six yards on nine carries; and Andrew Guckin had 33 yards on two rushes.  Monaghan threw for 109 yards on a 6-of-7 day, and did not turn the ball over.
Central Catholic, paced by Jones-Moore’s effort on the ground, chewed up 289 yards, with additional contributions from Hills (six rushes, 71 yards, long of 69), sophomore Luigi Lista-Brinza (three rushes, 12 yards) and Nixon (13-yard rush in the third quarter).  Farrell added two receptions for 47 yards for PCC.
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Plymouth Whitemarsh, Pa. A quarterback benching, three interceptions by one quarterback, three lost fumbles by another quarterback, over 200 rushing yards for a running back and four touchdown receptions by a receiver all contributed to the LaSalle Explorers wild 44-27 showcase game victory over the North Penn Knights at Plymouth Whitemarsh stadium in what may eventually point to a potential rematch of their AAAA eastern championship from a year ago.
What makes players stand out has been the ability to forget about the past mistakes and begin to make plays. LaSalle Quarterback Matt Magarity found himself in that situation and he looked for an old buddy in Senior Colin Buckley to help him turn around his game.
After a scoreless first quarter,  Magarity threw the first of his three interceptions giving the ball to the Knights on LaSalle’s 35. Six plays later North Penn’s Ralph Reeves blasted in from the two for a 7-0 lead. LaSalle came right back on their next drive with Magarity connecting with Junior Sean Coleman for gains of 20 and 24 and a Tim Wade 18 yard TD run and a 7-7 tie. North Penn countered immediately with Junior Kyle Mayfield’s 71 yard TD run down the right sideline and later in the quarter with a 16 yard TD pass from Corey Ernst to Don Gevirtz and a 21-10 lead going into the half.
Magarity started the second half on the bench after his second interception. Gordon inserted him back into the lineup after replacing him with Junior Chris Kane for a couple of series. At that point in the game the Explorers needed someone to step up and make a play. Enter Magarity’s childhood friend, Buckley. Getting his second chance, Magarity, found the 6-foot-3 receiver on a nine yard fade pattern for a touchdown. The team pulled to within 21-16. The Knights responded immediately with another long run by Mayfield (75 yards) putting the ball on the five before James Fielder punched it in for a touchdown and a nine point Knight lead. However on LaSalle’s next possession Magarity sold the run with a beautiful play fake and lofted a pass over the outstretched arms of a Knights defender right into Buckley’s hands and a 64 yard TD to bring them to within 27-23.
After a 40 yard punt return by Explorer Casey Eidenshink putting the ball on the Knights 10, LaSalle took their first lead when Magarity rolled the dice on third down from the one with another beautiful play fake and hit Buckley on a hitch pattern in the end zone and an Explorer 30-27 lead.
As one quarterback started to hit his mark, the other began to struggle. Ernst then lost a fumble at their 31 and Magarity went right back to work with his favorite target ending with another nine yard TD to Buckley. Another late touchdown by Tim Wade put the game out of reach for the Knights.
Besides Buckley’s four TD’s Magarity threw for 227 yards. The Knights Mayfield (only a Junior) ran for 206 yards and a touchdown. Reeves played a monster game with a touchdown, an interception and a load of tackles at MLB. Sean Burke was in on a host of tackles for LaSalle. The LaSalle Offensive line of Dan Wasylenko, Connor Kerrigan, Tyler Kern and Patrick Hoffman provided great protection for Magarity in the second half.
Originally North Penn was supposed to have wrapped up a two year, start of season series with western Pa. power Gateway high school. When that didn’t happen these two schools decided to make this showcase series to shape. In addition to their wild eastern AAAA final last year (38-35 LaSalle), this has now become a major league rivalry.
North Penn (SOL Continental Conference) looks to be as formidable as they have been for the last 10 years. No doubt they will contend for the D1 district title. LaSalle will be in the mix of a very competitive PCL schedule.
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ALLENTOWN – This game looked more like a basketball score. Both teams  combined for 103 points, which would make Wilt Chamberlin proud. In his  first start at quarterback, Kyle Lauletta threw for 254 yards and four  touchdowns to lead Downingtown East over Allentown Central Catholic  62-41 in a nonleague football game Saturday night at J. Birney Crum  Stadium.

The partnership of Harris & Harris set the tone early Saturday  night. Drew Harris scored on runs of 1 and 10 and Jay Harris hauled in a  33-yard touchdown pass from Lauletta and before they could catch their  breath Allentown Central Catholic trailed 18-0.

After a Colin McDermott three-yard touchdown run, Downingtown East  answered right back with a Jay Harris 54-yard touchdown reception. East  scored on its first four possessions and led 25-7.

Downingtown East head coach Mike Matta talked about Harris, “Jay  Harris is a tremendous athlete and no one works harder than he does. He  is the first one in the weight room and the last to leave. He is just a  explosive player on the field and is fun to coach.”

ACC scored the next 20 points to take a halftime lead 27-25. South  Carolina bound Quarterback Brendan Nosovitch hit Kevin Gulyas for a  91-yard touchdown pass and McDermott added runs of 4 and 3.

With all the momentum on the Vikings side they had a chance to add to  their lead with under a minute remaining in the first half. But the  threat ended on an interception by Downingtown East defender in the end  zone.

That ended up being a key play going into the second half. Matta  said, “I think that was huge. If we went down nine points at halftime it  may have been a little more difficult to rally.”

In the second half it was all Downingtown East, scoring five times.  Lauletta threw two touchdowns, Eddie Kozlowski’s 60-yard run and Drew  Harris’ 49-yard run. Nick Dudley finished off the scoring with a 45-yard  interception return.

Downingtown East’s defense held Central Catholic to two scores in the  second half. Coach Matta talked about making the adjustments, “We did a  lot of three men front in the first half and we did more four man front  in the second half.”

Nosovitch finished the game throwing for over 300 yards and two  scores. But turnovers hurt their chances throughout the game and four of  the five turnovers were interceptions. Last season he only threw 11  interceptions total in 16 games.

NOTE: The big three:  Drew Harris rushed for 220  yards and three scores. Emerging star wide receiver Jay Harris caught  five passes for 107 yards and two scores. Lauletta threw for over 200  yards and four scores. East finished the game with over 600 total yards  of offense.

Allentown Central Catholic (0-1) will try to regroup next week on the  road against Bethlehem Freedom. Downingtown East (1-0) is home against  Bayard Rustin.


First quarter

DE – Drew Harris 1 run 11:03

DE – Jay Harris 33 pass from Kyle Lauletta 6:52

DE – Drew Harris 10 run 5:16

CC – Colin McDermott 3 run 1:10


Second quarter

DE – Jay Harris 54 pass from Lauletta 10:58

CC – Kevin Gulyas 91 pass from Brendan Nosovitch 9:58

CC – McDermott 4 run 7:15

CC – McDermott 3 run 2:48


Third quarter

DE – Ryan Bond 21 pass from Lauletta 7:32

DE – Wade Mastrog 83 pass from Lauletta 4:44


Fourth quarter

DE – Eddie Kozlowski 60 run 11:49

DE – Drew Harris 49 run 10:42

CC – G.B. Harkins 2 run 9:08

DE – Nick Dudley 45 interception return 6:17

CC – Gulyas 11 pass from Nosovitch 5:01

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