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Gould shows All-Catholic cool as O’Hara keeps slate clean

MARPLE >> Tyler Gould felt left out earlier in the week when the All-Catholic League teams were announced.

And rightfully so.

The Cardinal O’Hara junior defensive end has been a terror all season and his omission was a glaring one. Defensive coordinator Jim Connor vouched for Gould during the Catholic League 4A final, saying he’s been a big-play performer since August.

That didn’t change Saturday against Bonner & Prendergast.

Gould made several tackles and sacked quarterback Evan Raiburn in the fourth quarter to help seal a 22-12 victory. As the last undefeated team in Delaware County, the Lions (10-0) will move to the District 12 Class 4A championship game in two weeks.

“I was a little upset about that,” Gould said about the all-league snub. “Coach was like, ‘Don’t let that bring you down. Use it as motivation. Play like an All-Catholic should.’”

The pep talk from coach B.J. Hogan came at the right moment. Gould regained his focus and played Saturday’s game with a purpose, to show once and for all the talent that he brings to the team.

“In my opinion, he’s the best defensive lineman in the league,” Hogan said. “He’s by far the best one I’ve seen. I don’t care that he’s only a junior, I have no problem with that. He was upset, too. He was in the tank Tuesday and Wednesday. I said to him, ‘I think you’re the best defensive lineman in the league, without a doubt.’ He just shows up and he made a couple of big plays for us tonight.”

When the Lions found themselves trailing 12-0 in the second quarter, Gould had a simple message for his mates on defense.

“We were getting mad, so I was telling guys just to calm down. We’ve been in this situation before, so we just needed to calm down,” Gould said. “Just do your job and everything will be all right. No need to get mad or to get sad, just keep on playing,”

Lions senior linebacker Stef Borcky and defensive back Justin Santilla missed significant time in practice last week due to injury. Borcky had suffered a broken finger and didn’t return to practice until Friday. Not having all of the troops healthy during the week contributed to the Lions’ slow start defensively.

“We were trying to get the chemistry back,” said Brocky, whose name was called by the public-address announcer early and often Saturday.

“At the high school level, they need a full week of practice … It really doesn’t work at any level, but especially with kids,” Hogan said. “I think that hurt us early on. I talked to them (Borcky and Santilla) at halftime … and told them, ‘Hey, you guys are two of the key reasons why we’re 9-0. You need to step it up.”

Once again, Hogan’s words resonated.

“The first half was a little unacceptable for all of them, but they played a lot better and really stepped it up.”

Myles Henderson looks for open space in Saturday's Catholic League Class 4A final. Henderson and Cardinal O'Hara defeated Bonner & Prendergast, 22-12.

Myles Henderson looks for open space in Saturday’s Catholic League Class 4A final. Henderson and Cardinal O’Hara defeated Bonner & Prendergast, 22-12.

Until its final drive in the first half, O’Hara’s offense had trouble moving the ball. Quarterback Tommy O’Hara was misfiring early but threw a beauty of a pass to Chris Kirby over the middle of the field for a 19-yard touchdown with 35 seconds to go before intermission.

The Lions used a 12-play drive that spilled over into the fourth quarter to take the lead away from Bonner. Nick Kutufaris slashed through the line and sprinted 10 yards for the go-ahead score. At that point, fatigue and frustration began to set in for the Friars, who were led defensively by Mike Larsen, Tommy Millison and Sean Morris.

“Our biggest issue — and we know this — is our guys are playing both sides of the ball and we never really get the chance to get them out. Kudos to them that they can get guys like (linemen) Des (Holmes) and (Stephon Brown) off the field. They have the depth,” Bonner & Prendie coach Jack Muldoon said. “We knew we had to score more than 12 points. We had to get up into the 20s. … And that last touchdown (at the end of the first half) was a killer.”

Tommy O’Hara’s 31-yard jaunt in the fourth quarter made it a two-score game for the Lions. O’Hara the quarterback was 9 of 23 through the air with 78 yards and a touchdown. He added 85 yards on the ground. He also picked off a Hail Mary pass in the waning seconds.

Raiburn was 13 of 28 for 151 yards for the Friars (4-7). Millison had six catches for 77 yards, while Alex Coll chipped in with five receptions for 41 yards.

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