DOWNINGTOWN >> Over on the other end of Downingtown, there was another pretty good football game Friday night.
After a first half of points and yards galore, Bishop Shanahan clamped down on the high-octane Oxford offense, while mixing in some big plays of its own, to come away with a convincing 56-27 Ches-Mont League crossover victory at Jack Mancini Stadium on Friday.
The Eagles improved to 7-2 overall and will face Coatesville in the regular-season finale next Friday. The Hornets dropped to 5-4 overall.
“You have to give all the credit to our defensive coordinator (Joe Mckee),” said Bishop Shanahan coach Paul Meyers. “He made the adjustments at halftime, and our kids did a great job on them. We were nervous about Oxford. With that offense, they can score on the drive or with a big play. They have a great quarterback and are well-coached.”
Both teams scored on their first possession — a 28-yard TD pass from Chandler England to Brandon Holz on a screen play for Oxford, followed by an eight yard TD pass from Andrew Smyth to Tom Waite for Shanahan.
Oxford proceeded to go on a 12-play drive that stalled at the 10-yard line. In came Jake O’Connor for the field goal, but his try was blocked.
“I thought that was the pivotal play of the game,” added Meyers. “They were about to take the lead. It pumped us up and maybe, deflated them a little.
The quarter ended with the Eagles facing a 2nd-and-19 on their 28. A little magic then happened on the first play of the second, when Smyth hit Steve Sweeney on a post. Sweeney did the rest by speeding past the Oxford defender into the end zone for a 72-yard score and a 14-7 lead.
“I just did a post, and Andrew found me,” said Sweeney. “I just ran as fast as I could.”
The Hornets were undeterred though, they march 65 yards on 10 plays to tie the score again. The key play coming as England found Brandon Deshields on a 35-yard pass to the Shanahan. Holz took it in from the one, two plays later.
The see saw then went back Shanahan’s way as Sweeney capped off a 65-yard drive with a 17-yard TD run off a jet sweep to lead 21-14 with 5:46 left in the half.
“He doesn’t even look like he’s running fast,” Meyers said of Sweeney. “We told our seniors they needed to step up and have a big night. Sweeney sure did that.”
Three straight incompletions gave the Eagles back the ball and a chance for some breathing room. On a 2-and-11 from the Shanahan 46, Sweeney galloped off another jet sweep to left, this time going 54 yards to score — his third of the evening.
But, before the buzz in the crowd had a chance to subside, back came the Hornets. Holz hit a home run of his own, sprinting 62 yards up the left sideline to cut the deficit to 28-21.
Oxford tried to get the score knotted just before half, but Dom DiBenneditto intercepted a tipped pass on his 15 to keep the lead at 14.
Shanahan got the ball to open the third, and made it count, going 80 yards, thanks in part to a 41-yard pass from Smyth to Zane Monroe to set them up at the Oxford 20. One play later, Smyth found Monroe again — this time alone in the right corner of the end zone for a 16-yard strike.
The dagger came five plays into Oxford’s next possession, England’s pass was tipped into the arms of Waite, who raced 55 yards to make the score 42-21.
To further exacerbate the situation for the Hornets, England was injured on the play when he was dragged down as he threw. He came back, but was not as effective.
“We thought they were in a certain coverage, then they switched out of it and we weren’t ready for it,” said Oxford coach Mike Means. “It just took off on Chandler and he got dinged up. But, we’ll get him ready for next week.”
Shanahan scored twice more for the cherry on top as the Eagles waltzed away to please the crowd on homecoming weekend.
The Eagles did a terrific a job on Holtz, holding him to 21 yards in the second half after 119 in the first 24 minutes.
Smyth managed 138 yards and a score on the ground, while accumulating 149 in the air.
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