Shanahan runs past Avon Grove

DOWNINGTOWN — The damp grass and the muddied dirt that were displayed at Jack Mancini Stadium on Saturday should be dry by next week, and thanks to Bishop Shanahan’s 39-6 Ches-Mont League National Division victory over Avon Grove, there will be players running over it.

The Eagles (3-3, 7-3) clinched a first-round home game in the Class AAA football playoffs. They are expected to play Upper Perkiomen.

“It does,’ Shanahan coach Paul Meyers said when asked it if felt good to get a home playoff game. “Our goal at the beginning was to get into the playoffs, and as we moved on in the season, I kept telling our kids lets make another goal and get a home playoff game, and that’s what they worked for the second half of the season.’

The inside-outside combination of Nick Pasvanis and Kevin Stine were too much for Avon Grove in the decisive first half. The two combined for five touchdowns and 251 yards on the ground.

On Shanahan’s second posession, after Avon Grove’s punt traveled only eight yards, they found the end zone. On 2nd-and-11 from the Avon Grove 34-yard-line, Stine took a toss sweep left, got to the outside, and raced untouched into the end zone.

“We praticed that all week,’ said Meyers of the play. “We saw on film that we could get outside on them, especially with Kevin’s speed. We were a little nervous whe we came here this morning with all the rain. We were fortunate that he could get out there.’

The Eagles took the air route to set up their next score toward the end of the quarter. Quarterback Dan Murphy hit Mike Sprague, who sprinted to the Avon Grove 5 before he was caught. Three plays later, Pasvanis bulled in from the one with 2:19 left in the quarter.

After taking over on downs, another sizable pass play put Shanahan in buisness again. This time, Murphy connected with Pasvanis for a 38-yard gain to the Avon Grove 24. After a Murphy keeper, the Eagles once again ran to sweep to perfection as Stine went down the right side for a commanding 18-0 advantage a minute into the second quarter.

“The blocks were definitely there,’ said Stine. “I can’t for anything else then my line making the holes for me. I’m just trying to run as fast as I can down the field.’

Avon Grove was stymied again on offense and Shanahan took full advantage of it. Stine went more off-tackle this time, but the result was his third touchdown as he scampered 40 yards.

Pasvanis put the finishing touches on a dominating first half as he slashed in from five-yards out to cap a 12-play, 95-yard drive and the Eagles enjoyed a 32-0 lead at halftime.

Avon Grove (0-9, 0-10) put together something early in the third as they went on a drive that produced its first points as Nate Jones scored from the two.

Despite going winless on the season, Red Devils coach Harry O’Neill did not sound like a man who didn’t taste victory in his first year as a coach.

“We came out and competed,’ said O’Neill. “Our young guys don’t quit. Sometimes being young and dumb isn’t a bad thing. .. I love them guys, I take them over some of the other teams I was with that had more success.’

The Shanahan defense, with tackle Doug Costin fully healthy, put the finishing touches on a regular season that they were statistically the best unit in the Ches-Mont.

“Our front line played well, that what dictated the game,’ said Meyers.

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