Strong second half secures 13-6 win for York Catholic in D-III showdown at Delone Catholic

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
  • York Catholic earned a 13-6 football victory over Delone Catholic on Friday night.
  • The Fighting Irish improved to 8-0 overall and 6-0 in York-Adams Division III.
  • Delone Catholic dropped to 5-4 overall and 5-1 in York-Adams Division III.
York Catholic's Levan McFadden, right, carries the ball during Division III title football action at Delone Catholic High School in McSherrystown, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. York Catholic would win the game 13-6. Dawn J. Sagert photo

McSHERRYSTOWN — Rivalry games don’t require any pregame speeches from the coaches to pump up the players.

Add into the mix an almost certain chance to win a York-Adams League Division III championship and end a two-season losing streak against a rival, and York Catholic had all the motivation it needed headed into Friday’s showdown at Delone Catholic.

“Last year, that put a sour taste in our mouths, the last two years actually,” York Catholic junior quarterback LeVan McFadden said. “So, it was just what we needed to get out here. We needed to turn up and we needed to win this game.”

McFadden was the star for the Fighting Irish in the second half, accounting for two touchdowns after halftime to lead his team to a 13-6 win against the rival Squires.

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The junior quarterback didn’t complete a pass in a scoreless first half, but was nearly perfect after halftime. McFadden came out of the locker room and into the end zone on York Catholic’s first drive.

After all four of his first-half passes fell incomplete, McFadden found a connection with junior wide receiver Quinn Brennan. The juniors combined for an 18-yard pass that set up McFadden's 1-yard score and excited head coach Eric Depew about what the pair could do in big games as they continue to mature.

“We told (McFadden) we wanted to throw a little bit there (in the) second half,” Depew said. “He just came out and made plays. Quinn man, heck of a game for Quinn ... Some key catches there.”

York Catholic Head Coach Eric Depew during Division III title football action at Delone Catholic High School in McSherrystown, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. York Catholic would win the game 13-6. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Delone answers: The Squires’ offense struggled to sustain any momentum after a drive into the red zone in the first quarter ended with an interception. One play into the fourth quarter, however, Delone Catholic got on the scoreboard.

Senior running back Coltyn Keller scored a 1-yard touchdown which gave the Squires a chance to tie the game, but after confusion following a York Catholic penalty on the point-after attempt, Delone Catholic missed the extra point and trailed 7-6.

The McFadden-Brennan combo went right back to work on the following drive. Brennan caught two passes — a 40-yard deep shot and a 12-yard slant for a TD — to put the Fighting Irish back up by a touchdown.

Difficult call for Delone: Delone Catholic head coach Corey Zortman was faced with a difficult decision a few plays after that score. The Squires faced a fourth-and-three from their own 32-yard line with five minutes left in the game.

Zortman chose to trust his defense and punted the ball, but never got it back.

McFadden found Brennan once again on a third-and-nine situation for 19 yards that clinched the victory.

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“I was really close to doing it,” Zortman said. “We still had the timeouts and for the most part played pretty good defense, just one of those decisions where, (with) hindsight you would question yourself.”

The numbers: The win moved the Irish to 8-0 overall and 6-0 in York-Adams Division III. Delone fell to 5-4 and 5-1.

McFadden ended the game 7 for 12 passing for 124 yards and a touchdown and added another 79 yards and a score on the ground. Brennan had five catches for 98 yards and a touchdown, while senior running back Andrew Adams had 79 rushing yards.

York Catholic's Quinn Brennan, back, catches the ball while Delone Catholic's Ryder Noel defends during Division III title football action at Delone Catholic High School in McSherrystown, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. York Catholic would win the game 13-6. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Keller closed the game for the Squires with 62 yards and a score, while senior running back Dylan Staub led the team with 82 rushing yards.

Champs: Although the Fighting Irish won’t officially be outright Y-A League D-III champions unless they win vs. York Tech (1-7) next week, the team broke its postgame huddle with one word — champs.

York Catholic celebrates a 13-6 win over Delone Catholic during Division III title football action at Delone Catholic High School in McSherrystown, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

McFadden and his teammates didn’t want to look past its final opponent and toward the third undefeated regular season in school history, but there’s one team on the schedule that defines whether or not the season is a success — Delone. After they beat the Squires, the Fighting Irish left J.T. Flaherty Field feeling like they already earned a trophy.

“This is our rival school, you know, winning this game, this is really what we look forward to every year,” McFadden said. “So, calling out champs, even if we didn't win a single game, coming here and winning that game, we would call ourselves champs.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.