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Hinton steps up as planned, McDevitt beats Bonner & Prendergast

UPPER DARBY — From the Bishop McDevitt sideline, Jovon Hinton didn’t get much time Friday night to play the role of backup quarterback.

On the first play from scrimmage against Bonner & Prendergast, starting signal-caller Lonnie Rice’s helmet popped off, forcing him to sit a play. Three snaps later, Rice gained the yard he needed on third-and-1 but limped off with a gimpy ankle.

In stepped Hinton to provide relief. And by the time Rice’s ankle was taped and stretched enough to test, Hinton gave the McDevitt staff no need to risk their starter.

Hinton rushed for 91 yards, threw for 102 and accounted for both touchdowns in McDevitt’s 17-0 Catholic League Blue Division win.

“I’ve just got to keep my cool,” Hinton said. “My coaches always talk about next man up, so I’m the next man up. I’m a senior. Lonnie’s my little brother, but I’ve got to follow him. I came in and kept my cool, and I had to execute.”

The dynamic between the two quarterbacks isn’t what you might expect. The 6-1 Rice, a junior, looks the part of star QB, which is why he’s under center ahead of the senior Hinton. Coach Mike Watkins deploys packages that utilize both of their skills, but the mature Hinton has no problem deferring to the player he calls, “his little big brother.”

“For Lonnie, that’s a starting player,” defensive lineman Nasire Griffin said. “But I believe in our backups and I believe in our team that we can do it. So I was worried a little bit about my player, but as a team, I thought we were going to do good.”

Hinton made plays with his feet and an arm that isn’t typical of a backup. He converted two fourth downs on his first series, an eight-yard run on fourth-and-3 and a 25-yard wheel route zinged to Jon-Luke Peaker on fourth-and-12. The 17-play drive culminated in an Austin Alcorn 37-yard field goal, but it set the tone, especially on the sidelines.

“I’m the one that’s yelling at the kids, ‘C’mon, get it up, clap it up for your team,’” said Griffin, the unofficial sideline hype man. “So it was a little exciting for us.”

Hinton was 8-for-15 through the air for 102 yards, including a 28-yard post pattern score to Jordan Drew in the second quarter.

In the third, Hinton made three straight plays to seal the game. He connected with Quamir Reynolds for six yards on fourth-and-5, then ran for 27, somehow emerging from a crowd of tacklers without his momentum stopped. He finished the drive with a one-yard dive to give McDevitt (4-1, 2-0) a 17-0 lead.

Hinton’s big plays punctured the otherwise steely resolve of the Bonner & Prendie defense. Without captain David MacMullen and highly touted senior defensive end Rushawn Lawrence due to injuries, the Friars persevered, limiting the dangerous Peaker to 88 yards on 17 carries. But they couldn’t get off the field, with the Lancers converting four fourth downs.

“At practice, we just work,” said sophomore linebacker Nasiim Rhodes-Nelson. “We watch film. We knew what they were going to do. We knew they were going to hit us with the quick routes and the deep balls. We were ready for it, but we’re going to do better next week.”

On the offensive end, Bonner (2-3, 0-2) couldn’t get untracked. They ran just 16 plays from scrimmage in the first half and finished with as many punts as first downs (six). Kyle Lazer was 7-for-14 for 77 yards, but he was picked off by Akrie Lilley at the 10 in the fourth to culminate the Friars’ most promising drive.

Bonner only rushed for 51 yards. Save for a couple of long passing plays – a 27-yard hookup between Lazer and James Welde, then a 21-yarder to Charles Ingram – the Friars made little headway against a McDevitt defense that Griffin trumpets as the best in the Catholic League.

“The type of defense that we run up front as the d-line, it’s speed and strength,” Griffin said. “… That’s what we do. We try not to talk a lot, we let them talk and we do our job.”

Judging by the seamless transition of quarterbacks, team continuity seems a big part of the McDevitt ethos, too.

“They see the backup quarterback ballin’, so it’s only right,” Hinton said. “They ball, too.”

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