HORSHAM >> Conwell-Egan was on the march, moving the ball from its own three-yard line to the Lansdale Catholic 37, using a methodical 12 plays to do so and eating up almost half of the fourth quarter.
“It felt like they had the ball for a while,” Lansdale Catholic running back and defensive back Ryan Quigley said. “Every time they got a first down, I said to our guys, ‘dig deeper, dig deeper.’”
The Crusaders, holding tight to their six-point lead, came up with the stop they needed, and on the very next play from scrimmage, Quigley got the ball and was gone.
The senior’s 87-yard touchdown run provided a two-score lead with 7 minutes and 2 seconds to go, and sent the Crusaders onto a 34-21 win over the Eagles on this chilly night at Hatboro-Horsham High School.
“He sees the whole field, he cuts back, and once he gets into the clearing,” LC coach Tom Kirk said, “there aren’t a whole lot of people that are gonna catch him.”
Quigley’s 140 yards and two scores helped raise the Crusaders’ record to 2-1 in the Philadelphia Catholic League Class AA and 5-2 overall.
The Crusaders added timely passing to their dominant ground attack, pressured Egan quarterback Kendall Jones all evening long and got tremendous coverage downfield to win their second in a row, a victory in which LC built a big lead in the second quarter before withstanding – and overcoming – a big rally by the rival Eagles.
“It was a dogfight the whole way,” Quigley said. “It was a great team win.”
LC took its first lead of the game on the final play of the opening quarter, when Marlen Fenstermacher sprinted away to a 58-yard score off a draw play, pushing the Crusaders in front, 10-7.
The touchdown play painted a telling picture of the Quigley-Fenstermacher tandem. When Quigley went into motion, a shout of “there he goes” could be heard from one of Egan’s down lineman, instructing his teammates to keep an eye on LC’s explosive senior back.
Playing off each other so well, it was Fenstermacher who got the ball and caught the Eagles off guard, racing away untouched to the go-ahead score.
Fenstermacher would amass 156 all-purpose yards in this one – 103 on the ground and 53 on receptions.
“We like to think of ourselves as partners,” Quigley said of his mate in the offensive and defensive backfield. “We’re partners on both sides of the ball. When I’m running the ball, he’s blocking for me. When he’s running the ball, I’m blocking for him. We’re playing as a team. It’s been fantastic.”
The Crusaders would go on to score on three straight possessions in the second quarter, and after Dom Gambone recovered a fumble by Egan, LC needed just two plays to capitalize, with Basilii hitting Quigley for a 28-yard gain down the right sideline. Quigley then ran in for a seven-yard score on the next play.
LC converted another Eagle turnover into seven points moments later, when Basilii lofted a 36-yard pass to Fenstermacher down the seam, boosting the Crusader advantage to 24-7.
Lansdale Catholic seemed to be well in control in this battle of 4-2 teams, but Egan fought back.
Quarterback Kendall Jones fired a strike down the right sideline to wide receiver Daniel Green, and the junior turned it into a 71-yard gain, all the way down to the LC three.
On 3rd-and-goal from the one, Kyree Bronson battled his way into the endzone, bringing Egan within 24-13. The extra-point attempt would be no good.
The Eagles then forced a turnover, drawing within 24-21 at the half when Jarrett Patman scored on a two-yard run, followed by a two-point conversion pass from Jones to Patman, making it a three-point game.
A 26-yard field goal by Ryan Carbone would be the only points of the third quarter, making it 27-21, setting up the big fourth-quarter stand and Quigley’s 87-yard run into the night.
On an evening of big plays, Egan made the first by returning the opening kickoff back 90 yards for a score, courtesy of Bronson, but the last big play — and the game — belonged to Quigley and LC.
“I was really proud of our offense tonight,” Kirk said. “Truthfully, I didn’t think we would be able to score 34 points. I watched Egan’s defense a whole lot and they are terrific. They’re aggressive, they’re disciplined, so from an offensive standpoint, for us to score 34 points, that’s a very good night for us.”
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