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Bishop Shanahan spoils Pottstown’s re-lighting

POTTSTOWN >> Dan DiBeneditto admits, most of the time he goes under-center, he has a hard time seeing over the line of scrimmage.

Yet on Friday night, the senior quarterback stood tall and possessed precise vision in leading the Bishop Shanahan football team to a 35-7 win over Pottstown at Grigg Memorial Field.

The win improves Shanahan to 3-0 on the young campaign, while also spoiling a historic night for Pottstown (0-3) as the Trojans were hosting their first game under the lights since the 2013 season.

Pottstown’s Anthony Wiggins makes an open-field tackle on Bishop Shanahan’s Tyler Kingsbury on a punt return in the second quarter. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

“It can be hard seeing over my linemen sometimes,” said DiBeneditto, who is listed at a modest 5-10. “Just got to weave my way in and out, try and see over the line and make the plays I know I can make.

“They (Pottstown) brought out a huge crowd, turned on the lights everything. So we were just trying to stay composed and stay loud.”

The highlight of DiBeneditto’s day came on the first play of the second quarter.

The southpaw lined up behind center, scanned the defense in front, then called an audible out to his teammates.

Bishop Shanahan running back Liam Dearing dives into the end zone for a touchdown Friday against Pottstown. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Moments later, DiBeneditto hit a streaking Dan Bathon up the seam for a 40-yard strike to give the Eagles a commanding 21-0 lead on their third possession of the game.

“I saw that the corner was manned up on our outside guy,” recalled DiBeneditto of the play. “I had all the confidence that he could beat him, so we sent him on an outside-release go-route.”

DiBeneditto had the commands of a Shanahan offense that was in control the entire way. He finished with 174 yards of total offense — carrying it seven times for 59 yards and a touchdown to go along with 115 yards passing on the night.

“He’s a hell of an athlete,” said Shanahan head coach Paul Meyers of his quarterback. “He’s a playmaker and he gets better every week. As a team, we’re getting better each week.”

The Eagles racked up 369 yards of total offense with Connor Whalen carrying it 14 times for 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Andrew Smyth piled up 86 yards of total offense — 44 yards receiving on two receptions — while bruising fullback Liam Dearing racked up 18 yards on four rushes with a touchdown.

Pottstown’s Adrian Sibilly (5) makes a fumble recovery on a kickoff just in front of Bishop Shanahan’s Connor Whelan Friday. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

Pottstown couldn’t get anything generated throughout — especially during the first half. The Trojans were held to just 21 total yards through the first half, nearly surpassed by Shanahan’s first down total (17) during that stretch.

Pottstown’s running game was held stonewalled by the Shanahan defense as no rusher surpassed 15 yards on the ground. Owen Morton passed for 51 yards — including a 20-yard strike late in the fourth quarter to Jamal Adams — and completed five of his nine attempts.

Playing under the new lights, Nehemiah Figueroa proved to be a bright spot for Pottstown. The defensive back came up with a pair of interceptions each in the redzone during the final minutes of the second half.

“The big thing we talked about at half time was trying to win the second half get some momentum going,” said Pottstown head coach Mark Fischer. “(Nehemiah) made a couple big plays there for us. They (Shanahan) were obviously trying to get the clock to run before the half and he was able to step up for us.

The Pottstown football team runs on to the field ahead of their first Friday night home football game since 2013. (Austin Hertzog – Digital First Media)

“Right now, we’re trying to point out the big plays and the things we’re doing right. We can’t wait any longer, we’ve got to get things going.”

The Trojans will head to Methacton (0-3), which has been shutout in all three of its losses, on Friday night in search of their first win.

Shed A Little Light >> Pottstown hasn’t won a home night game since a 41-40 win over Great Valley in November of the 2012 season. The Trojans have plenty more chances yet this fall, as they host Pope John Paul II (9/22), Phoenixville (10/6), Upper Merion (10/13) and Sun Valley (11/3) all under the lights.



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