WEEKEND FOOTBALL ROUNDUP: Young York Catholic team sees year end with district final loss

J. SCOTT SEWELL
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York Catholic head coach Eric DePew.

York Catholic’s football season came to a frustrating end on Friday night after suffering a 21-7 loss to Camp Hill in the District 3 Class 2-A championship game. 

Despite the loss, head coach Eric DePew felt good about the progress of his young team.

“With everything that went on with COVID and everything else we had to deal with, to get a No. 1 seed in the district championship was just a great experience for a very young squad. For a young group to come out and compete in this type of game is tremendous,” DePew said.

York Catholic entered Friday’s championship game with just two active seniors after losing senior lineman Michael McBrairty to an injury in last week’s 41-16 victory over York Tech.

The loss of McBrairty loomed large throughout Friday night’s game. Camp Hill consistently applied pressure on the Fighting Irish on both sides of the ball.

“Our defensive line did fantastic tonight,” said Camp Hill head coach Tim Bigelow, whose team improved to 3-2. “I think our offensive line and defensive line dominated both sides of the ball.”

The Lions set the tone early by marching down the field with a 10-play, 85-yard touchdown drive on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead with 6:13 remaining in the first quarter.

York Catholic struggled to find an answer until junior Daniel Devitt recovered a fumbled snap by Camp Hill quarterback Daniel Shuster, giving the Fighting Irish their biggest defensive play of the evening.

York Catholic sophomore quarterback Levan McFadden then connected with sophomore wide receiver Quinn Brennan on a 51-yard touchdown pass on the very next play, tying the game at 7-7 early in the second quarter.

The game remained tied until Shuster found senior wide receiver Cam Ochs in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass, capping off a 15-play 80-yard drive to open the second half. 

The Lions managed to convert three third-down attempts on the drive and overcame a key holding call.

“We couldn’t get off the field on third down,” DePew said. “We had them in third-and-long situations and just couldn’t get off the field. We tried to get some pressure and they just made some great throws and catches. If you can’t get off the field, it’s going to be tough to win.”

The Lions then surprised the Fighting Irish with an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, recovering the ball after it was deflected by a pair of York Catholic players. 

The Fighting Irish kept Camp Hill out of the end zone on the ensuing drive, but the extra possession allowed the Lions to limit York Catholic to just three offensive snaps in the third quarter.

The Lions put the game away for good on a 53-yard touchdown pass from Shuster to Ochs early in the fourth quarter. Ochs caught the ball and then spun around a York Catholic defender to sprint into the end zone.

“It was just a bad night,” McFadden said. “It doesn’t feel good at all. This year was another learning year for me, but next year I think I’m going to come out and do my thing. Really, it just doesn’t feel good at all right now though.”

The Irish finished at 6-2 after winning their first five games of the season.

“We’re going to have a lot of guys back,” DePew said. “We had four sophomores on the line today with one junior, a sophomore quarterback and sophomore wide receivers. The future is definitely bright, but they’re going to have to go into the offseason and do things to get themselves ready. 

A bright spot for the Fighting Irish was junior punter Nicholas Andrasi, who consistently unleashed booming punts to help pin back the Camp Hill offense. Andrasi notched punts of 44, 40, 41 and 40 yards.

“Nick does a nice job. He has a great leg, and for a junior, he’s got a bright future in the kicking game,” DePew said.

Camp Hill will advance to the PIAA state quarterfinals after surviving a difficult season that saw them drop their previous two games by a combined 45 points against strong foes..

“These guys have been through so much. The resilience they have, the dedication they have to our team. I mean they have been through so much; to get this win is just a godsend," Bigelow said.

New Oxford falls just short vs. Warwick: At Warwick, the New Oxford Colonials nearly pulled off a major surprise in a District 3 Class 5-A semifinal contest on Saturday night, dropping a 14-12 decision to the Warriors.

Warwick came into the game ranked No. 2 in the state in 5-A, while New Oxford was unranked. Warwick, the No. 2 seed in the district, moved to 8-0, while Y-A D-II champion New Oxford finished at 6-1. The Colonials were seeded No. 3 in the district 5-A field.

New Oxford jumped out to a 12-0 first-quarter lead on a pair of touchdown passes from Connor Beans to Connor Herring. The first TD pass covered 36 yards, while the second covered 6 yards.

Warwick, however, rallied to take the lead 14-12 at halftime on a pair of 1-yard TD runs by Colton Miller.

New Oxford outgained Warwick for the game, 282-267. Beans finished 19 for 33 for 242 yards passing. Miller finished with 112 yards rushing on 30 carries. Warwick QB Joey McCracken finished 13 of 23 for 141 yards passing.

New Oxford had a chance to take the lead midway through the fourth quarter, with a first-and-goal opportunity at the Warriors’ 3-yard line, but a halfback option pass was intercepted by Warwick in the end zone.

South Western, Gettysburg earn regular-season wins: On Friday night, South Western and Gettysburg finished their seasons with regular-season victories.

Both games were scheduled for earlier in the season but had been postponed.

South Western rolled past Dallastown, 47-20, while Gettysburg dominated West York, 48-6.

South Western finished the season at 2-5 in Y-A D-I, while Dallastown finished at 1-5.

Mustangs junior quarterback Shilo Bivins finished 7 for 11 for 196 yards and a TD. Senior running back Charles Gaither ran for 103 yards on 13 carries and a TD. Jaden Knisley added 71 yards on eight carries for South Western. South Western junior Josh Wasowicz had four catches for 162 yards and a TD.

For Dallastown, Nate Ward had a 20-yard interception return for a TD and also caught a 56-yard TD pass from Dylan Lease. Lease also threw for a 31-yard TD pass to Connor Schumann.

Gettysburg, meanwhile, finished at 4-2 in Y-A D-II with its win over West York, which dropped to 2-4. The Bulldogs lost their final four games after a 2-0 start.

Jayden Johnson (11 rushes, 142 yards) and Landon McGee (12 rushes, 140 yards) led a 349-yard rushing attack for Gettysburg. Johnson had TD runs of 51 and 47 yards. Victor Gonzalez led West York with seven rushes for 57 yards and six catches for 44 yards. Theo Halloran threw for 140 yards for West York.

— Reach J. Scott Sewell at sports@yorkdispatch.com.