DOWNINGTOWN >> After starting the season with three non-conference wins last year, Bishop Shanahan looks poised to repeat again after their first win over West Philadelphia 48-6.
Bishop Shanahan, led by senior quarterback Dan DiBeneditto and junior tailback Connor Whalen, continually torched the Speedboys’ defense all night with a high-powered rushing attack.
“We had a plan coming into the game,” DiBeneditto said. “It was to run the heck out of the ball and dominate the line. That’s what we did tonight. The line was awesome.”
Whalen put the Eagles up 7-0 to start the game coming off a 10-yard rush into the end zone with 8:22 in the first quarter.
But his most impressive run was yet to come. In the third quarter with 2:03 left on the clock, Whalen cut back in front of his line down the middle to score from the 51-yard line. When it looked he would be caught by two West Philadelphia players at the 20-yard line, the tailback seemed to find an extra burst down the middle.
“I felt really good about it. I just saw a wide open gap and hit it hard. It’s all about momentum and we are hoping to carry this win forward into the season,” Whalen said.
With 89 rushing yards on the day, Whalen only carried the ball seven times.
DiBeneditto started rusty, throwing one for four with six yards until the end of the second quarter. He threw a 30-yard touchdown to Andre Moffatt with 40 seconds left to put the Eagles up 28-0 going into halftime.
The senior quarterback had another touchdown right before that with a four-yard draw to the right.
A big part of the scoring outburst for Bishop Shanahan was provided by the offensive line. Bishop Shanahan “absolutely dominated” and DiBeneditto believes they may be better than people were expecting.
“They were said to be a question mark coming in, but everyone on our team knows that they are not a question mark,” DiBeneditto said.
It showed Friday with the offensive line providing blocking for some big runs of 51, 32 and 42 yards. The Eagles scored six rushing touchdowns against West Philadelphia.
The main focus this season, not unlike last season, is to start early and fast. Last year, the Eagles went 3-0 to start against non-conference opponents and are hoping for the same this year.
“That was a part of the pregame speech,” Eagles head coach Paul Meyers said. “We have to get off to a good start one game at a time.”
West Philadelphia could not seem to get their offense on the same page with 11 penalties costing them 65 yards and any momentum.
The lone bright spot for their offense seemed to come in the second half. Utilizing 5-foot-6, 190-pound tailback Terrel Smith was the only way West Philadelphia could move down the field. Smith employed a slow but bruising running style on the Eagles defense. He finished with 15 second half carries for 88 yards and one touchdown towards the end of the game.
Bishop Shanahan travels to Glen Mills to face the Battlin’ Bulls Friday at 7 p.m.