LOWER GWYNEDD >> Despite some pile-moving runs by Matt Casee and also a 13-play drive to start the second half, Lansdale Catholic was shut down and shut out, 26-0, by visiting Conwell-Egan on a wet and windy Saturday night at Wissahickon High School.
The Eagles, surging to a 4-1 start this year and a 2-0 record in the Philadelphia Catholic League Blue Division, took control on a pair of rushing touchdowns by Patrick Garwo, including a 41-yarder that got the Eagles going in the first quarter.
“I just saw a hole and hit it hard,” said Garwo, who finished with 92 yards on 12 carries for Egan. “That was tremendous blocking by the line. Everyone downfield blocked and I just used my speed to get there.”
Garwo’s score, coming on 4th-and-2 at the LC 41, gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead on their first series.
The Eagles forced a punt on LC’s first possession then got a turnover on the one that followed, as Jonathan Bennett stepped in front of a Michael Basilii pass and gave the Eagles a 1st-and-10 at the Crusader 11.
Three plays later, quarterback Kendall Jones faked a handoff and then sprinted out to the right, turning the corner and racing to the end zone for a seven-yard score and a 14-0 Egan lead late in the first.
“We have a lot of weapons,” Garwo said. “Our o-line is tremendous and we just follow them.”
The Crusaders’ (1-4, 1-2 PCL Blue) defense hung tough in the second quarter, getting an interception by Danny Dutkiewicz and forcing two Eagle punts.
LC twice drove inside the Egan 30-yard line but both times, the Eagles came up with stops and third and fourth down. On a first-down play at the Egan 36, Basilii scrambled around, bought time, then threw a strike to Bob Bausman, but Jones came up with a touchdown-saving play in the secondary, knocking the ball out of Bausman’s grasp.
“We’ve been pretty good this year inside the 20’s but then when we get down closer to the goal line, we have to figure out a way to (finish it off),” Crusaders coach Tom Kirk said. “That’s when (Egan) kind of buckled down and said ‘no way. You’re not getting in the end zone.’ That’s a very good defensive team.”
The Crusaders began the third quarter with an 18-yard run by Casee, and later a 16-yard completion from Basilii to Dutkiewicz would keep the drive alive, advancing LC to the 39. Basilii ran for another first down and the Crusaders moved it down to the 29 to try and cut the Egan lead in half, but again the Eagles came up with a stop on fourth down, getting good pressure up front, led by defensive end Quameer Francis.
Egan took over at its own 37 and began the drive that would put the game away. Garwo bounced off tacklers for a gain of 12, Jones ran for gains of six, four and six, and on a 1st-and-goal at the six, Garwo found a crease and slipped into the end zone, increasing the Eagle lead to 20-0 with 1:40 to play in the third quarter.
Again the Crusaders got things moving, a 23-yard pass to Patrick Daly quickly putting them on Egan’s side of the field. The Eagles’ defense kicked in, however, forcing a turnover on downs at the 35.
“When Egan comes to play, they’re gonna be very tough to beat,” Kirk said. “I thought our defense, especially in the first half, played very well. We gave up two quick touchdowns, made some adjustments, and played well. We matched their physicality and had some real nice plays.
“We struggled offensively, so we have to figure out what we need on offense to be able to get the ball in the end zone. Egan’s too good of a team for us to come in and not score a few touchdowns.”
The Eagles’ defense set up the only points of the fourth. Daly caught a five-yard pass from Basilii, but a jarring hit by Danny Green caused the ball to squirt free, scooped up by Terome Mitchell and returned 51 yards, all the way down to the LC 4.
Kyree Bronson crashed in from four yards out, putting the capper on the victory.
“It’s pretty exciting. We’ve been working a lot — in the summer, working a lot,” Garwo said of the 4-1 start. “We knew this year could be special.”
Top Photo: Lansdale Catholic’s Jake Doheny is swamped by Conwell-Egan defenders during their game on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)