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Lansdale Catholic crushes Conwell-Egan to advance to PCL AA final

SPRINGFIELD >> Lansdale Catholic’s Ryan Quigley rushed for 226 yards, made 13 tackles on defense, and capped off the victory over Conwell-Egan Saturday with a game-clinching interception.

Said Crusaders coach Tom Kirk: “Special players play special games. He has risen to the occasion in the past and it doesn’t surprise me.”

Quigley’s three-touchdown effort was part of an overwhelming performance by the Crusaders, as they barrelled through rival Conwell-Egan for a 35-12 victory in a Philadelphia Catholic League Class AA Semifinal Game at Cardinal O’Hara High School.

Mark C Psoras--The Reporter Lansdale Catholic's Ryan Quigley ,21, cuts past sprawling Conwell Egan defenders for a touchdown during first half action of their playoff contest at Cardinal O'Hara High School on Saturday Nov. 7, 2015

Lansdale Catholic’s Ryan Quigley (21) cuts past sprawling Conwell-Egan defenders for a touchdown during first-half action of their PCL Class AA semifinal at Cardinal O’Hara High School on Saturday Nov. 7, 2015. (Mark C Psoras/The Reporter)

“We took care of business today and it was fantastic,” Quigley said.

The win sends LC to the PCL AA Final next weekend against West Catholic, which defeated Neumann-Goretti in the other semifinal contest.

Saturday’s game between LC and Egan didn’t just begin, it exploded: three long-distance touchdowns in the opening 2 minutes and 13 seconds, two of those by LC.

Quarterback Michael Basilii ran around the right end, saw a lane, and was gone, racing away to a 51-yard score that gave the Crusaders an early 7-0 lead.

The Eagles’ Pat Garwo took the ensuing kickoff back 92 yards for a score, with the missed extra-point attempt leaving the margin at 7-6.

Then, on the very next play from scrimmage, Quigley burst through a hole, weaved his way free, and took off for a 65-yard touchdown run that pushed LC’s lead to 14-6.

“Those aren’t my rushing yards. Those are the o-line’s rushing yards,” said Quigley, who had five runs of 10 yards or more, including one for 65 and another for 80. “If I don’t have those seven guys up front blocking, we can’t do anything without them.”

An offensive line that includes 6-foot-5, 280-pound Vince Picozzi continued to dominate, and a 10-play drive by the Crusaders (8-2) was capped off by Quigley’s second score, a three-yarder that widened the margin to 21-6.

LC’s defense did not allow Egan a single first down in a pivotal second quarter. And with 2:40 to go in the half, with LC taking over at its own 20, Quigley took the handoff from Basilii, found a gap on the left side, raced down the sideline, then cut it all the way back to the right, sprinting all the way into the end zone for an 80-yard score that pushed the Crusader lead to 28-6.

Mark C Psoras--The Reporter   Lansdale Catholic quarterback Michael Basilii ,7,  races past Conwell Egan defenders for a touchdown during first half action of their playoff contest at Cardinal O'Hara High School on Saturday  Nov. 7, 2015

Lansdale Catholic quarterback Michael Basilii (7) races past Conwell-Egan defenders for a touchdown during first-half action of their PCL Class AA semifinal at Cardinal O’Hara High School on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. (Mark C Psoras/The Reporter)

The Crusaders didn’t merely have a productive day on the ground, they ran for nearly a quarter mile. LC racked up 402 rushing yards, with Marlen Fenstermacher going for 99 yards and Basilli adding 57.

“Mike scored the first one on just a rollout, and our fullback, Timmy Swierzewski, does a good job of blocking and every now and then pops one up the middle,” Kirk said of a plentiful ground attack. “And between Marlen and Ryan, they complement one another, the way they run and the way they block for each other.”

Playing from behind, Egan quarterback Kendall Jones had a busy day, throwing 25 passes — completing 10 of them for 90 yards — and rushing 21 times for 57 yards.

Jones’ four-yard score, followed by a failed 2-point attempt, brought the Eagles (5-5) within 28-12 with 3:28 to go in the third quarter, but Quigley’s interception followed by a one-yard touchdown sneak by Basilii sealed it in the fourth for LC.

“Our defense is playing well, the d-line is doing its job, getting a surge off the ball, and that’s exactly what they’re trying to do,” Quigley said. “We want to take it into next week.”

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