SPRINGFIELD >> For Patrick Garwo, the finish was the reward.
It applied to both his performance against Bishop McDevitt on Saturday afternoon and in terms of his career that began with Conwell-Egan in the midst of a total rebuild and ends with at least a Philadelphia Catholic League championship. Bottled up early, the Eagles senior bided his team, let his teammates do their thing then broke out in a big way to finish things off.
Garwo scored four touchdowns as Egan topped McDevitt 42-14 to win the PCL Blue Division title, the program’s first PCL championship since 1970 when the school was called Bishop Egan.
“The pain we took last year, we knew what we had to do in order to do it,” Garwo, a Boston College recruit, said. “We had the talent to do it, it was just the chemistry and coming together as a team and we continue to do that better and better each week.”
When Jack Techtmann and his staff took over the Eagles (9-0, 6-0 division) seven years ago, the program wasn’t in a good place. They stuck to it, relied on their first few teams to help build a foundation and began making progress with each passing year.
An Egan alum, Techtmann said the PCL hubcap was for everyone who’s played a role in the program’s revival, no matter what their role may have been.
“I thanked this team for all the guys who played here the last 48 years to have and enjoy this,” Techtmann said. “I’ve heard from so many alumni over this run how great it is and how proud they are. I have guys in college now texting me saying they can walk around with their chests out. To me, that’s what matters, all the guys who have been here and part of the program.”
After getting a stop on the first drive of the game, McDevitt (6-3, 4-2) fumbled and lost the ball on its first offensive snap. Egan didn’t waste the second chance, scoring when Garwo went in from five yards out.
The senior tailback noted teams often key in on him and when that happens, he’s happy to watch his teammates put in the work. Saturday, Terome Mitchell took that opportunity and ran with it, rushing for 160 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Mitchell had TD runs of 32 and 73 yards to put Egan ahead 21-0.
“Terome, like I’ve always said, he’s a monster,” Garwo said. “I learn a lot from him. We’re really close and we make each other better every week in practice.”
McDevitt cut the lead to 21-7 on a one-yard keeper by Lonnie Rice right before the half. The Royal Lancers got the second half kick and needed just one play to make a game of it when Rice hit Jon Luke Peaker for a 65-yard catch-and-run.
“We tried to find some holes but we have to execute,” McDevitt coach Mike Watkins said. “We’re a tough football team, Lonnie is our leader, we stick with him, make adjustments and move on.
“It’s a play we liked and had some success with earlier in the season. The guys wanted it and the time was right so we took our shot. If you have open receivers against Conwell-Egan, you have to hit them because there’s not a lot of holes in that football team.”
The teams would exchange punts the rest of the third quarter until Garwo finally broke loose with 1:19 left in the period. Up to that point, he had been held to just 62 yards rushing and only two gains over 10 yards. Taking a late option pitch from quarterback Alex Goldsby, he took off for a 70-yard rushing score.
Garwo ended up with 143 yards on the ground but also racked up 102 passing yards with the bulk coming on his next score. Goldsby found the BC-bound senior on a screen pass and as two defenders collided trying to bring him down, Garwo slipped the tackle and outran everyone else for a 76-yard score.
“I’ll do whatever I have to do to win, if it means be a decoy, I’ll be a decoy,” Garwo said. “I’m always going to get mine. Something’s going to pop, my o-line is too good for it not to. I just trust in my teammates and stay patient.”
Garwo added a three-yard rushing score with 5:15 left.
McDevitt takes on Archbishop Carroll in its regular-season finale, then the Lancers will prepare for the District 12-2A title.
“We have to turn the page quick, we’ve been through three losses this year and that’s what we preach,” Watkins said. “When things go well, enjoy it and when things go bad, feel that pain. It’s important to turn the page quick and we’ve done it, every loss we bounced back with a win.”
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