Nick's Sports Crusade
Nick Mandarano is a junior at Lansdale Catholic HS with an
appreciation for sports at the high school level. Since March 2011, Nick has
been covering pro and college sports through a self-run podcast and
has recently added high school sports to the podcast's arsenal. As a result,
Nick has discovered a passion for high school sports that goes hand-in-hand
with his love of writing. Nick couldn't be happier to join the crew and to
write about his Crusaders!
Nick is now doing shows about Philly high school
sports with his buddy, Dan Spinelli, who attends
Here's the link . . .
CATHOLIC AAA SEMI
B-P 28, Lansdale 0
With a come-from-behind win last week against Cardinal O’Hara, Lansdale Catholic finished the regular season at 5-4 (1-2 in Catholic League games) and secured the 3-seed in the AAA Catholic League semifinals. Their opponent would be Monsignor Bonner (3-5, 1-2) who they lost to in the regular season by a score of 28-9.
The game began with Monsignor Bonner kicking off to LC, but there wasn’t a whole lot of action until the second quarter. In fact, the first quarter was scoreless with only one real threatening drive from either team. Bonner drove down to LC’s 28-yard line before the whistles blew and ended the opening quarter.
Just 46 seconds into the second quarter, Bonner quarterback Jim Haley rolled right on a 3rd and 5 play and ran 22 yards for the touchdown to put his team on top 7-0. LC was looking to answer as they were able to drive down to Bonner’s 37. However, Joseph Ho was able to intercept Pat Duggan’s pass and give the ball right back to his offense. On this possession, Bonner faced a 3rd & 1. LC needed a stop. Haley decided to run with it himself and managed to get more than a first down. He took his offense right into the red zone. A few plays later, Haley ran, yet again, for a touchdown. Haley actually finished the game with over 100 yards rushing.
On Bonner’s next possession, LC’s defense knew they had to step it up. That they did. With a minute and a half left in the half, Phil Segar picked off a pass right around midfield. After a 3-and-out, LC was forced to punt. Bonner had the ball for a total of 15 seconds before Ryan Gianoni plucked the ball out of a receiver's hands just as the two guys were about to hit the ground. Nothing productive followed the turnover before halftime came upon us.
The Crusaders came out fighting in the second half. On the very first play, Phil Segar fell on a Joe DePhillipo fumble for LC. Again, the offense struggled and the punt team was called for.
Later in the quarter, Bonner wasable to pick LC off again. Joe DePhillipo returned the interception 35 yards before being brought down at the Crusaders’ 2-yard line. DePhillipo got the handoff on the next play and was able to score with 2:29 left in the quarter. Bonner’s Jim Haley picked off Duggan one more time before the close of the quarter.
Bonner scored again midway through the 4th quarter. On a play action QB boot play, Kyle Dawson was found in the end zone and the Friars were up 28-0. LC had one more possession following the score, but the offensive depression continued for the Crusaders. The game ended with a 28-0 victory for Bonner. They will move on to play Archbishop Wood in the AAA Championship.
Despite not getting the championship result coach Tom Kirk’s team wanted, LC should consider the season a success. No one expected them to do as well as they did. They finished the regular season above .500 for the first time in years. ‘Sader Nation couldn't be more proud of their football team this year!
Ryan 34, Lansdale Catholic 7
The Lansdale Catholic Crusaders lost to the Archbishop Ryan Raiders, 34-7, in Week 8 on the road. LC started the season with a 4-0 record, but came into this game at 4-3. With Ryan also at 4-3, each team was fighting to stay above .500, but all eyes were really on Ryan running back Jeremiah Agrio, who was 2nd in the Catholic League with 804 rushing yards and tied for 6th with 7 rushing touchdowns.
After winning the coin flip and electing to receive, LC began their possession at their own 30-yardline. Mike Iacono opened the game with a carry into Raiders’ territory and finished the drive with a rushing touchdown (his 3rd this year) on a risky 4th-&-1 play call in the red zone. Two minutes and 5 plays into the game, LC was already on top 7-0, but unfortunately this wouldn’t last.
Immediately following LC’s possession, Ryan had a 61-yard drive that also resulted in a touchdown. On 4th & 9, Ryan quarterback Mark Ostaszewski dropped back and fired a touchdown pass to tight end Connor Golden and tied the game at 7. After an LC 3-and-out, Ryan took the ball all the way downfield to score again before the 1st quarter came to a close. This time, Ostaszewski found wide receiver Travon Williams in the end zone for the score.
LC played significantly better on defense in the 2nd quarter, causing two turnovers in three Ryan possessions. Ryan was inside LC’s 20-yard line before getting moved back 10 yards for a holding penalty. On 4th& 9, Ryan decided to go for it rather than kicking the field goal and the play resulted in an interception by senior James Ward. The Crusaders had a hard time capitalizing on the turnover as they recorded their third straight 3-and-out and had no choice but to punt from their own 17-yard line. Ryan brought the return all the way back to about the 17. The Raiders were able to run one play before LC’s defense struck again. Ryan attempted a halfback pass, but senior Pat Duggan was there to pick the ball off. Again, LC was unable to capitalize on the turnover as Ryan’s Bobby Romano took the ball right back with an interception. Ryan was just barely able to score on this possession as Ostaszewski snuck the ball into the end zone with just 10 seconds remaining inthe half. With the score at 21-7, each team retired to its locker room.
Ryan didn’t wait long after halftime before again making noise; a 67-yard touchdown pass to Romano made this a 3-possession game. The rest of the quarter resulted in nothing but turnovers on downs. However Ryan picked off Duggan again 42 seconds into the 4th quarter, but couldn’t fight for a first down and was forced to punt. The Crusaders were backed up inside their own 10-yard line. On the second play of the possession, Duggan’s pass was tipped up into the air and came down into the arms of Archbishop Ryan for the third time in the game. Starting the drive on the 6-yard line, it took just three plays for senior running back Jim Mansfield to score, but the extra point was missed. Ryan led, 34-7.
LC had time for one last drive – a drive that turned out to be its 2nd longest (41 yards) of the day. Led by sophomore quarterback Joey Pinzka, who was subbed in for Duggan, LC marched down to about the Raiders’ 35-yard line without passing the ball a single time. When Pinzka finally threw the ball, it was intercepted at the 1-yard line. Ryan ran the clock out and went home with a 34-7 victory.
So, after a strong 4-0 start to the season, LC has fallen to a .500 record with 4 wins and 4 losses. The biggest difference between these two teams was each team’s total offense. Ryan totaled close to 350 yards while LC managed just 215. These last two games against Cardinal O’Hara and Conwell-Egan are going to be crucial when it comes to this team's future. It will be interesting to see if the Crusaders can break their losing streak next week in their homecoming game against O’Hara. If they plan on doing so, they must continue to force turnovers and run the ball, but they also must begin to fight for some more first downs, make the total offense ratio a little more even, and most importantly capitalize in big situations.
Wood 28, Lansdale Catholic 14
After a strong 4-0 start to the season, Lansdale Catholic dropped its third straight game with a 28-14 loss to rival Archbishop Wood. Archbishop Wood (5-2) took control of the game early as it led, 21-0, after the 1st quarter. From then on, however, LC (4-3) was able to play with the Vikings, outscoring them by 14-7. LC’s first touchdown came on a 52-yard pass down the right sideline from senior quarterback Pat Duggan to senior wide receiver Michael Jester. It was really LC’s first sign of life in the game and the LC crowd made that evident. Expressions of hope and talks of an upset swept through the stands. Unfortunately, LC was only able to manage one more score – a goal-line sneak from Duggan. Senior running back Kevin Sabo ran for 70 yards. For the season, Sabo now has over 300 yards rushing. He joins fellow senior James Ward as LC’s other 300-yard rusher. Just for the record, Ward and Sabo are also the two leading receivers for the Crusaders, each with over 150 yards. The deadly duo has scored a combined 102 points in seven games.