WESTTOWN >> Entering their PIAA Class AAA Semifinal battle against District 3 champion Middletown, Conwell-Egan Catholic (CEC) needed just nine points to set a new all-time Eagles scoring record.
Egan (7-7), which was playing its first football game in the month of December since 1969, scored 437 points this season but just seven on Saturday at Bayard Rustin High School, falling two short of setting an all-time record.
On this day, they’d need 50 points to get past the Blue Raiders, who scored three times in the first quarter and on four occasions before the intermission on their way to a convincing 49-7 triumph.
Defensively, the Raiders stopped C-E standout Patrick Garwo, holding the speedy junior to just 48 yards on 10 carries.
“They’re a great football team and they’ve been here so they knew what it takes,” said Egan head coach Jack Techtmann. “They came out and they beat us up up front, physically.
“Defensively, they took Patrick away and we were short a couple guys so we didn’t have a whole lot of weapons.”
Offensively, unbeaten Middletown (14-0) crushed the hopes of the Eagles faithful, with senior running back Brady Fox leading the way with 176 yards rushing and four touchdowns including a 56-yard TD burst – his longest scoring run on the day – that put the Raiders up 21-0 with 3:27 still to play in the first quarter.
“It wasn’t the outcome that we wanted but we knew they were a good football team,” said Techtmann. “But I’m really proud of this team; they’ve done something that no other team in the history of the school has ever done.”
The coach was referring to the Eagles’ previous state playoff wins to get to this point in the postseason.
In the semifinal, it was all Middletown, however. When the Eagles shut down the Raiders’ ground assault, Middletown gashed them through the air with junior quarterback Scott Ash throwing for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
On the Raiders’ third play from scrimmage, Ash caught junior Tre Leach streaking down the left sideline for a 46-yard gainer. A play later, Fox capped the four-play scoring drive with a 4-yard TD plunge.
Ash’s next pass was a touchdown strike that was good for 13 yards to junior Lamar Ventura. That was also the capper on a four-play scoring drive by the opponent and it took Middletown just four more plays to go up, 21-0.
On the Raiders next possession, the Eagle ‘D’ stiffened and forced the team from Harrisburg to punt. When Egan got the ball back, C-E took it to midfield, then faked a punt, instead, handing off to Garwo, who took the ball inside the 35 yard line.
Alas, a penalty took the Eagles back, the Raider ‘D’ stiffened and Egan turned the ball over on downs at the opposing 28 yard line.
When Middletown missed a field goal on its next possession, it looked like the Eagle defense had stopped the bleeding.
On its next possession however, Egan went three-and-out for the third time in the first half and the Raiders took advantage, assembling a nine-play, 69-yard scoring drive, capped by a 10-yard TD pass from Ash to senior Chris Plummer for a 28-0 edge with 1:08 left in the second quarter.
Ash connected with Plummer three times for 68 yards on the drive and he also threw a dart to senior Ryan Hughes on Middletown’s previous possession.
“He threw some nice balls and the receivers made some nice catches,” stated Techtmann. “They caught us flat-footed a couple of times and we were in man coverage and they beat us.”
The Eagles’ only offense in the game came next. On third-and-six from the 24, CE quarterback Alex Goldsby tossed a scoring strike to freshman Dajuan Harris, who caught the ball in stride at the 25 and beat all the defenders to the end zone for the score.
Fox scored twice more after the break, capping a 6-play, 55-yard drive with a 13-yard TD run and a 9-play, 54-yard drive with a 3-yard scoring burst to kick off the Mercy Rule and start the running clock with 3:10 to play in the third quarter.
Egan – which was playing without the services of kick returner Trey Mitchell and cornerback Andrew Garwo – turned the ball over on downs at midfield on its next possession and it took the Raiders just three plays to put the ball in the end zone again with sophomore Chris Joseph taking the ball 46 yard to paydirt.
NOTES: The 1966 Eagles football team still holds the C-E scoring record of 438 points.
Middletown 49, Conwell-Egan 7
(Dec. 2 at Bayard Rustin High School)
Middletown (14-0) 21 7 14 7 – 49
Conwell-Egan (7-7) 0 7 0 0 – 7
M — Brady Fox 4 run (Donovan Brady kick)
M — Lamar Ventura 13 pass from Scott Ash (Brady kick)
M — Fox 56 run (Brady kick)
M — Chris Plummer 10 pass from Ash (Brady kick)
CE — Dajuan Harris 74 pass from Alex Goldsby (Jack Barreras kick)
M — Fox 13 run (Brady kick)
M — Fox 3 run (Brady kick)
M — Chris Joseph 46 run (Brady kick)