REIFFTON >> Jon Heisman admitted he didn’t have to say anything to Bishop Shanahan heading into halftime Saturday, especially after the Eagles gave up a two-goal lead in the final 1:44 of the first half.
Heisman knew the mentality of his team as they played in the first state quarterfinal game in school history. Of course, it didn’t hurt having Connor Heisman and Kyle Gucwa on the attack to take over the game, either.
“Those two guys have been playing together for three years now,” Heisman said. They’re excellent and they took care of business. I don’t know how many points they had, but they always do (take care of business).
Heisman finished with four goals and two assists while Gucwa had three goals and two assists as Bishop Shanahan scored five unanswered goals in the third quarter in a 13-7 win over Allentown Central Catholic at Don Thomas Stadium in Reiffton Saturday.
The win moved the Eagles (20-1) to the PIAA Class 2A semifinals, the first such appearance in school history. Bishop Shanahan will face York Catholic, a 15-10 winner over Crestwood, on Tuesday with the date and time to be determined. Allentown Central Catholic ends its season at 17-6.
Gucwa had two goals and two assists in that five-goal third quarter, sparking the Shanahan offense as the Eagles used the 10-minute halftime advantage to pull away with a dominant quarter out of the break.
The Eagles had 22 shots in the first half, but changed up the strategy a bit in the third thanks to a quick change.
“We were told to shoot low,” Gucwa said. “We were shooting high the whole first half, so that was one thing. We needed to hustle as well. We got beat on the 50-50 ground balls quite a bit.”
Andrew Smyth gave Shanahan the lead for good with 9:21 left in the third to make it 6-5 before Gucwa and Heisman took over the game. Gucwa had his first of four points in the quarter assisting Gabe Goforth on his second goal of the afternoon to make it 7-5 with 8:07 left in the quarter.
Heisman and Gucwa pulled off their own version of the bash brothers in a 20-second span to give the Eagles control of the game. Heisman scored off a feed from Gucwa with 6:21 left in the fire to make it 8-5, then Heisman returned the favor by setting up Gucwa with his first goal of the game to make it 9-5.
Gucwa later scored with 3:35 left in the third to cap off the dominant quarter. The Eagles went from a 5-5 halftime tie to control the game in a six-minute third quarter stretch that determined the outcome.
The Eagles spent four years trying to get over the hump of the first round of the state playoffs. They finally accomplished that task in 2018.
Shanahan is just two wins away from that elusive state title Heisman has been coveting since he was hired by the school in 2010. The head coach once said that’s his ultimate goal for the program.
The Eagles have arrived in the PIAA final four and they’re far from done.
“We’re excited, but we have two more steps to go,” Heisman said. “We’re not going to be satisfied with anything less than a state title. Honestly, we have our work cut out for us.”
Bishop Shahahan 13, Allentown Central Catholic 7
Allentown Central Catholic 2 – 3 – 0 – 2 — 7
Bishop Shanahan 2 – 3 – 5 – 3 — 13
Allentown CC goals: Ike 2, Marker 2, Gloss, Glemser, Pasquale
Bishop Shanahan goals: Heisman 4, Gucwa 3, Tagliaferri 2, Goforth 2, Smyth, Rafferty.
Saves: Barr (ACC) 11; Pezone (BS) 11.