Bishop Shanahan pulls off surprise against Downingtown East

DOWNINGTOWN — To do anything constructive in life as a group, you need everybody pulling in the same direction and giving every last ounce of energy and commitment. Saturday afternoon at Jack Mancini Field, Bishop Shanahan outplayed and outhit Ches-Mont League National Division foe Downintown East and for the first time in school history, beat the Cougars, 17-10 on Saturday.

The heroes were many for Shanahan (2-3 Ches-Mont, 5-3 overall) but maybe none bigger than senior Cody Smith, who forced and then ran back an East (2-2, 5-3) fumble 85 yards early in the fourth period to give the Eagles a 17-7 edge.

“I was just trying to make a play on the ball,’ Smith said. “Our defensive line did a great job all day against a real tough and good football team. When I saw the ball on the ground, I was just trying to make a play to help my teammates.

“This is a great feeling to finally beat Downingtown. This is the best team and group of guys I have ever been on. We can do some good things when the playoffs start I believe.’

The two squads dueled through a mostly defensive first half. Downingtown East got on the board first thanks to a seven-yard touchdown run from Jack Kincade. Shanahan cut into that deficit following a 36-yard field goal by Jake Geiger.

Kincade and Keith Conner combined for 137 yards on the ground, but it was below the Cougars’ average as the Eagles defensive front, led by Matt Evans, Smith and Doug Costin, did a good job standing up to the push of East’s offensive line push.

The second half started with an exchange of punts, but then the Eagles broke through and took control of the contest. After taking a Drew Brennan punt at their own 37-yard line, quarterback Dan Murphy led the Eagles on a long scoring drive to take the lead.

Twice, Murphy broke tackles on third-down plays to record first downs. Murphy gained seven yards around the left elect side to put the ball on the Cougars’ 38. Murphy called a rocket screen to Pat Corcoran that worked to perfection as Corcoran sped into the end zone for a 10-7 lead.

“Danny kept that drive going with some good runs and some good decisions,’ Shanahan head coach Paul Meyers said. “He really played well today and he was big on that drive.’

With the Eagles leading going into the final quarter, the desperate Cougars went on a march of their own. Behind the running of Kincade and Keith Conner, East advanced the ball to the Shanahan 12. Then Smith stripped Kincade and raced the other way for a 17-7 advantage with a little more than 10 minutes left.

East’s main receiver, Cary Angeline was held catchless until the fourth. The 6-foot-7 star was matched up against 5-11, Pat Corcoran, who asked Meyers for the assignment earlier in the week.

“I really wanted to play defense and hit somebody,’ Corcoran said. “And I told coach to let me play Angeline and that I would do a good job. This is an awesome feeling to beat Downingtown because they are a very good team.’

Corcoran intercepted Hudson twice, the second coming with less than four minutes to play after he and Angeline went up for a ball in the corner of the end zone.

“Pat came to me and said ‘I want to cover Cary,” Meyers said. “Pat is a real tough kid and he did a good job today.’

Shanahn milked the clock and punted the ball with 1:21 left to play. Hudson drove the Cougars into Shanahan territory, with Brennan nailing a 26-yard field goal with 47 seconds left.

Downingtown East then tried for an onside kick, but Anthony Riccardo recovered it to put the Cougars’ playoff hopes in jeopardy.

“We have no excuses,’ Downingtown East head coach Mike Matta said. “Their defensive line beat the heck out of us and they were more physical than we were. I did not do a good enough job of getting our kids ready to play. Give Shanahan all the credit.’

After the Eagles celebrated their upset win Meyers talked about what it was like to finally beat the Cougars.

“It was a total team effort today. Anytime you beat a Mike Matta coached team it is a big thing,’ he said. “Mike is one of the best coaches in the district, so yes, it is a real big thing to beat them.’


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