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As Conwell-Egan celebrates perfect season, O’Hara contemplates improvement

Conwell-Egan's Patrick Garwo set the Eagles' career scoring record in a 39-0 win over Cardinal O'Hara Saturday night. (DFM File)

BRISTOL TWP. >> There was no confetti. There was no marching band to strike up the school’s alma mater. That didn’t seem to matter to Conwell-Egan.

The clock hadn’t quite struck triple zeroes before the Eagles raced toward midfield to celebrate.

Conwell-Egan shut out Cardinal O’Hara, 39-0, Saturday night at Harry S. Truman High School. The win put the finishing touches on the first undefeated regular season in program history for Conwell-Egan. A week ago, the Eagles (10-0, 7-0) had locked down sole ownership of the Catholic League Blue Division title — their first football league championship in 48 years.

Running back Patrick Garwo was ready to etch his name into school history, too. The Boston College commit scored three touchdowns, giving him 24 for the season and sole possession of the Eagles’ all-time scoring record.

All of that left a stinging feeling for O’Hara (6-3, 4-3). The Lions will enter the Catholic League’s 4A playoff bracket on the heels of this lopsided loss. Making matters worse, O’Hara will have two weeks to contemplate — and correct — what went wrong.

“I was talking to some of the older kids, and they thought we weren’t ready to play,” said O’Hara coach B.J. Hogan. “I actually thought we had a good week of practice, but we just got totally dominated in every phase. It’s on me. It’s on my staff.”

Cardinal O’Hara was without lead running back Keed Kpoto, who sat with a shoulder injury. In his absence, the Lions failed to muster any offensive flow. They totaled 83 yards of offense on 45 snaps, an average of 1.9 yards per play.

That’s not going to win too many football games, with or without Kpoto.

“It adds motivation for us,” O’Hara lineman Louie Perri said. “At some point, you’ve got to take pride and rebound from the loss. We’ll find a way to make this motivate us.”

Conwell-Egan did some damage against O’Hara, lashing the visitors’ defense for multiple big plays.

Quarterback Alex Goldsby found the end zone twice on read-option keepers, from 45 and 30 yards out. He also connected with Sean Stokes on a 20-yard touchdown in the second quarter. That play, on a fourth-and-1, gave the Eagles a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.

And then there was Garwo, who had scoring rushes of 24, 2, and 51 yards. The senior finished with 207 yards on 23 carries.

“I don’t think I’ve seen anybody that good this year,” Perri said, “or any year. He’s not easy to tackle. You can’t arm-tackle him. He won’t go down. You just hope he gets tripped up. When he gets past us on line and into the next level, he’s gone.”

O’Hara had its shot to strike back, following the touchdown pass from Goldsby to Stokes. The Lions recovered a bobbled second-quarter handoff between Goldsby and tailback Dajuan Harris just a few yards shy of the red zone.

What followed? An 11-yard holding penalty and two running plays that resulted in a loss of six yards.

“We had chances early on,” Hogan said. “We had the fumble recovery, and then we had a negative play and a penalty. It’s uncharacteristic of our kids and our staff. Every now and then, you get your butt kicked a little bit. We’ll get better from this.”

O’Hara has no other choice. The Lions have a bye week, then host either Bonner & Prendergast or Archbishop Carroll for the Catholic League’s 4A championship. From there, a berth in the District 12 title game and a chance at PIAA playoff appearance loom.

“It’s definitely a tough one for us,” Perri said, “but we’ll find our way.”

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