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Rice, Bishop McDevitt snap skid with complete effort against Archbishop Ryan

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CHELTENHAM >> The pass had only just fallen incomplete when Nasire Griffin sprinted from the Bishop McDevitt sideline toward the stands behind it.

The sophomore hop-stepped his way down the entire row of home bleachers, waving his arms up and down as he implored the Royal Lancers’ Homecoming crowd to get loud. His teammates on the field deserved to hear it.

“Come on y’all, make noise,” Griffin said. “We just won the game.”

After one kneeldown, it was official and McDevitt could celebrate its 41-28 win over visiting Archbishop Ryan on Saturday night at Cheltenham High School. It was a much-needed win for McDevitt after three straight losses and making it sweeter was that it was a complete effort on both sides of the ball.

Lancers quarterback Lonnie Rice accounted for four touchdowns, the defense picked off Ryan QB Jahill Sanders four times and just when it looked like the Raiders were about to steal the game, McDevitt (5-3, 1-3 PCL Blue Division) made sure that didn’t happen. This was a different team than the last three weeks.

“I knew we were going to win because of our practice,” Rice said. “It started on Monday when we had film, we took film seriously. Tuesday, we executed on our defensive day. Then we executed on our defensive day. Everybody stopped playing around, stopped joking around, took the smile off their face and got serious.”

Rice ran for 82 yards and three touchdowns and completed 11-of-20 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown.

Early, it looked like the Raiders (3-5, 2-2 PCL Red) were going to have McDevitt on the ropes after they took their opening drive down for a score. Instead, the Lancers scored on their next three drives and built up a 21-7 lead at the end of the first half.

“We had three straight losses, it’s all peaks and valleys, we win the first four then lose the last three and the last two, I think, we found ways to lose those games,” Lancers coach Mike Watkins said. “Tonight, the offense looked more complete, like it was supposed to look. We were finishing things up front and it’s just a huge, huge win for the program.”

For most of the season, it had been the defense carrying the load for McDevitt and while the unit certainly had its fair share of the credit on Saturday, the offense was ready to chip in as well. John Luke Peaker caught seven passes for 53 yards and ran for 26 more and a touchdown, Robert Laurie-Clark hauled in a 60-yard touchdown bomb and Tyseem Caesar ran for 44 tough yards and a score.

Amari Jones and Zay Scott each had two interceptions for McDevitt, with Scott picking off Sanders on the very first play from scrimmage in the second half. The Lancers turned that into Caesar’s touchdown and led 28-7, a score that proved very important.

“It feels like we’re clicking on all cylinders right now and it’s at a good time,” Watkins said. “We have West Catholic and we finish up the regular season with Lansdale Catholic. We control our own destiny and that’s the best part about it. The team that played tonight, I want to be a part of that team.”

Ryan stormed back into the game behind a spirited effort from Mike Minniti. The back finished with three touchdowns, two of them coming as the Raiders scored three times over the final 8:51 of the third quarter.

Minniti hauled in a 12-yard touchdown pass, then broke off a 20-yard run that set up a five-yard Sanders scoring run to pull the Raiders within 28-21 with 2:17 left in the third. The finish to the third was wild, with Rice lofting a gorgeous deep ball to Clark for a 60-yard touchdown two plays after Sanders ran in, with Minniti returning the ensuing kickoff 88 yards to get his team back within one touchdown.

For as chaotic as the third was, the fourth was far more tense, with McDevitt trying to keep both the lead and its cool.

“I’m usually the one that’s snapping off but I stayed calm this game,” Rice said. “I told everybody, ‘pick your head up and stay calm.’ If I’m calm, they should be calm and I said ‘the only time you can be panicking is if I’m panicking.’ You never want to see the quarterback panicking, I’m supposed to be the leader of the team and I needed my mood to be up.”

Ryan took over with 3:21 left on its own 33 and still down a score. After a five-yard run by Minniti, the Lancers forced an incompletion and Jared Warren sacked Jahill to bring up fourth down. Needing to go the air, Jahill put one up, which Scott gladly picked off and ran the other way.

The junior corner returned it all the way down to the one yard line, where Rice punched it in two plays later to seal up the win.

“I just put my hands up,” Rice, who also plays safety, said. “Zay’s slower than me, but I thought he got it. I was smiling. Zay had a hard time his freshman and sophomore year but I told him before our first game started it was his year. I told him to stay calm and be collected.

“I was the only one who didn’t get a pick. I was trying to get mine, but hey, I was glad everyone else got to eat.”

Rice said he and his teammates will celebrate this win for a day, then it’s right back into the mixer on Monday with a very good West Catholic team up next.

“We’ve played well with them for a half in the past, but you can’t beat a team like that with one good half,” Watkins said. “If we play half a game against West Catholic, we know what will happen. If we can repeat the effort from tonight, I’ll be happy.”

BISHOP McDEVITT 41, ARCHBISHOP RYAN 28
BISHOP McDEVITT 7 14 14 6 – 41
ARCHBISHOP RYAN 7 0 21 0 – 28

Scoring Plays

1st Quarter

AR –Jahill Sanders 9 pass to Mike Minniti (Tim Rola kick) 5:29

BM – Lonnie Rice 3 run (Dan Fiorello kick) 47.0

2nd Quarter

BM – Rice 7 run (Fiorello kick) 8:43

BM – John Luke Peaker 6 run (Fiorello kick) 48.4

3rd Quarter

BM – Tyseem Caesar 6 run (Fiorello kick) 10:20

AR – Minniti 12 run (Rola kick) 8:51

AR – Sanders 5 run (Rola kick) 2:17

BM – Rice 60 pass to Robert Laurie-Clark (Fiorello kick) 1:22

AR – Minniti 88 kick return (Rola kick) 1:06

4th Quarter

BM – Rice 1 run (kick block)1:21

Team Stats

AR BM

First Downs 8 16

Rushes-Yards 25-135 37-195

Passing 9-21-1-4 11-20-1-2

Passing Yards 101 164

Total Yards 236 359

Penalties-Yards 6-49 4-34

Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-0

Individual Stats

Rushing: BM – Lonnie Rice 17-82, Robert Laurie-Clark 5-13, Tyseem Ceasar 5-44, John Luke Peaker 7-26, Adrian McCoy 1-15, Quamir Reynolds 2-15; AR – Jahill Sanders 14-47, Jason Jefferson 6-46, Mike Minniti 5-42

Passing: BM – Lonnie Rice 11-20-1-2-164; AR – Sanders 9-21-1-4-101

Receiving: BM – Peaker 7-53, Lawrence Richardson 1-19, Amari Jones 1-0, Zay Scott 1-32, Laurie-Clark 1-60; AR – Jefferson 2-8, Minniti 2-39, Tyreek Chappell 2-34, Mekhi Lang 2-22, Dylan Cariss 1-(-2)

Interceptions: BM – Amari Jones 2, Zay Scott 2; AR – Colin Boyd, Justin Collier

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