York Catholic crushes Upper Dauphin, 35-8, claims District 3 2-A championship
When a team hosts a game, it’s common to hear that the home program wants to defend its field.
York Catholic took that phrase quite literally on Friday night.
Upper Dauphin, despite there being no real rivalry between the programs, showed up to the York Catholic stadium and stepped on the logo at midfield. The District 3 Class 2-A football championship contest then turned into a battle.
“Once they stepped on our logo at the beginning of the game, we were like, 'All right, it's time to kill this thing,’” York Catholic junior quarterback LeVan McFadden said. “You can't come down here to our field and disrespect us. It's not gonna happen.”
The Fighting Irish brought the battle to the Trojans from the first drive until the last and cruised to a dominant 35-8 win and added another memory to a special season. York Catholic (11-0) won its first District 3 title since 2018 and head into the PIAA playoffs undefeated, just like the 2018 squad did.
McFadden-to-Brennan TD: Like most games this season, McFadden made a number of key plays to put points on the board for the Irish.
The dual-threat quarterback accounted for three total touchdowns during the game, but his passing touchdown was one of the biggest plays of the game.
McFadden rolled to his right and launched a pass down the right sideline toward his favorite target — junior wide receiver Quinn Brennan. At the 20-yard line, Brennan separated from his defender, caught the ball and then crossed the goal line to put his team up 14-0 in the final seconds of the first quarter with the 56-yard touchdown.
“All these emotions were going through my head,” Brennan said. “At one point, I didn't even know if I was gonna catch it, but I focused, came through and scored a touchdown.”
Sealing the deal: If the big play to end the first quarter wasn’t enough, York-Adams Division III champion York Catholic completely sealed the win with a big run to open the second half.
Senior running back Andrew Adams got a handoff from McFadden and took off for a 78-yard score on the first play from scrimmage after halftime for his second score of the game, putting the team up 35-0. The game was effectively over.
“I knew how to get to the end zone,” Adams said. “I was just watching the shadows. I'm running down the field trying to get away from everybody. It felt really awesome once I finally got to the goal line and crossed and looked behind me and saw my teammates running on the field.”
Adams described his senior class as the backbone of this team. They watched as freshmen when the 2018 team won the district title and wanted an opportunity to get into a game like that.
Depew gets emotional: York Catholic had a chance to capture a district title at home last year, but lost to Camp Hill. The Irish also lost to Delone Catholic last year at home in what amounted to the York-Adams Division III title game. Those tough losses in 2020 made Friday's victory over Upper Dauphin a special one for head coach Eric Depew, who got emotional talking about the senior class.
“Any senior group is special," he said. "I love all the guys I've had the fortune of coaching, but last year we were young and came up short in this game. We lost the division, Delone came here and took that from us. Camp Hill came down and took a (district) title from us. So, that was a bad taste. I knew these guys would come out wanting to work hard to accomplish what they wanted to do here, but they wanted to win the division. They were talking undefeated regular season and now they got the triple crown right now with the district title.”
Adams remembered being a freshman on the 2018 team and being so far from the District 3 trophy he couldn’t even see it.
After he scored two touchdowns in the 2021 version of the game, it was Adams’ turn to grab the trophy and celebrate the championship with his teammates in front of the home crowd.
“I've literally spent the past four years dreaming of that moment to be able to lift that trophy in front of everybody and scream my lungs out,” Adams said. “It’s another incredible feeling.”
York Catholic now advances to the state playoffs vs. District 12 champion West Catholic (3-7) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Delaware County.
Reach Rob Rose at email@example.com.