NEWTOWN TWP. >> Milt Mamula rung in Episcopal Academy’s 2017 football season with a clang. On the first play from scrimmage, the senior outside linebacker rampaged through the Bonner & Prendergast line and dropped Ty Gunby for a loss of six. Mamula and the Churchmen were off and running, on their way to a 44-0 home defeat of the Friars.
“We needed to set the tone from the jump,” Mamula said. “That made us stronger. Everyone else did a great job filling in other places.”
With Mamula leading the way, EA’s defense racked up five sacks and four tackles-for-loss. On the other side of the ball, the offensive line punched holes for DeeWil Barlee and Co. to rush for 237 yards on 31 carries. Barlee accounted for 88 of those yards in a little more than one half of action. The Churchmen were impressive on both sides of the ball.
“We have a lot of young people on the team,” Mamula said. “The way we played today gave a lot of young players, like Matt Bush, the chance to make a bunch of plays. They stepped up for us.”
Another one of EA’s underclassmen, sophomore quarterback Maurcus McDaniel, fed off his more senior teammates’ confidence.
After the Friars’ three-and-out to start the game, McDaniel — who splits chores with Adam Robinson — drew an offside on a hard count.
The next play he handed off to Barlee, who sped around the right side for 34 yards. Two more rushes from Barlee put the Churchmen inside the Friars’ 10, where McDaniel handled himself with aplomb. He pitched the ball to all-purpose senior Adam Robinson for a halfback run/pass option. Robinson got his defender to bite with an arm pump before coasting into the end zone to start the scoring.
“I felt pretty confident,” McDaniel said. “I felt like my teammates and my coaches, they helped me out through the process. I was able to handle what was on the field.”
A field goal by James Silvi made it 10-0, but the Friars couldn’t muster any offensive threat. When Shon Nelson had time in the pocket, he made some plays, finishing 4-for-7 for 32 yards. It’s just he rarely had time.
“We have to get a little more creative,” said Bonner & Prendie coach Jack Muldoon in reference to his team’s pass protection. “With about five minutes to go in the first half, we were only down 10-0. I was happy to be in that spot.”
That was before McDaniel found his groove again and the Churchmen capitalized on some breaks. Barlee spun through traffic from 11 yards out to make it 17-0. On the first play after the kickoff, the ball was snapped over Nelson’s head. Matt Bush scooped and scored to push the lead to 24.
McDaniel then delivered his two best throws of the night, a 12-yard dart to Brendan Huf and a 10-yard out to Jack Bush, who weaved across the goal line. That 10-0 gap suddenly swelled to 31-0 at the break.
McDaniel added a rushing touchdown to start the second half before Robinson completed the scoring.
Top photo: Episcopal running back DeeWil Barlee carries the ball in the first quarter as Bonner-Prendie’s Kyrin Jackson tries to track him down Friday evening. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)