McCort B  1202 -Bishop McCort vs. Wilmington Football

Bishop McCort quarterback Jordan DeFrances is pressured by Wilmington defensive end Brandon Palladino on Friday night at Slippery Rock University.

The Bishop McCort Crimson Crushers football team won the battle of the statistics Friday night at Thompson Stadium on the campus of Slippery Rock University.

Unfortunately for the Johnstown team, the scoreboard reflected the true outcome of the game in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinal.

“Yards and stats don’t mean much, only the score,” Wilmington coach Terry Verrelli said after his team had defeated the Crushers 13-6. “McCort is a good football team. I was concerned whether we would be able to move the ball against those big guys and stop their power game.”

The Crushers’ Scott Lewis led all ground gainers with 32 carries for 156 yards, but it was big plays which helped the Greyhounds.

McCort dominated the first quarter, putting together a 13-play drive which consumed nearly seven minutes off the clock.

The march featured a fourth-and-short-yardage situation which Lewis helped convert to a first down. The senior back completed the drive with a 2-yard scamper for the score but the snap went awry on the kick attempt.

After a fumble recovery by Michael Cruz on Wilmington’s ensuing drive, the Crushers were on the march again.

But an apparent touchdown was called back on a holding call and helped shift the momentum in the Greyhounds’ direction.

“I thought the first half was pretty tough,” McCort coach Ken Salem said. “We had some points taken off the board. It didn’t seem like we could get a break.”

Wilmington put together a scoring drive starting at the 3:20 mark of the second quarter set up by a fake McCort punt which had the District 10 champions starting from the Crushers 15.

The Greyhounds used just four plays, capped by a quarterback sneak by Jake Reiber. Nick Riggall kicked the PAT to put the Greyhounds into the lead at 1:43.

“You’ve got to give Wilmington credit for taking advantage of some opportunities, some of our mistakes and playing hard,” Salem said. “They are a very good football team.”

The Greyhounds scored again in the third quarter, putting together a drive capped by a 63-yard Chris Burns dash.

“It was a designed play,” Burns said. “I got up in the hole and read the blocks, turn on the jets and make some runs. I know I’m not going to break every run.”

Burns finished the night with a team-high 96 yards.

Penalties also hindered the Crushers, who finished with nine for 65 yards.

“In the first half I was really upset with some of the penalties,” Salem said. “I thought a lot of them were late. But in the second half, every flag that was thrown was a mental mistake on our part and it took some first downs off the board which we could have used in drives.”

McCort finished the season 11-2 while Wilmington (14-0) will play the winner of the Jeannette-Brookville game next week.

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