EAST WHITELAND — Football is all about imposing your will on the other team. Playoff football also follows that credo, but it ramps up a couple notches. Saturday at Great Valley High School, Bishop Shanahan, the No. 3 seed, completely dominated sixth-seeded Upper Moreland in the quarterfinals of the District 1 Class AAA playoffs. The third-seeded Eagles limited the Golden Bears to 113 yards of total offense and cruised to a convincing 37-7 triumph for the first playoff win in the 15-year history of the program.
The win puts Shanahan (8-3) into Friday’s semifinal against host Great Valley at 7 p.m.
The Eagles were led on defense by Cody Smith, who had 12 tackles, the superb play of Doug Costin and Greg Rankin’s two fumble recoveries. The Golden Bears (6-4) seems powerless to keep the Eagles out of their backfield. All-Suburban League running back Tyler Whitmore was held to 102 yards on 25 carries — just one in the first half.
“We saw that we could put pressure on them and we kept it up,’ Costin said. “It feels great to get a playoff win for the school and we put it all together today.’
Shanahan started the game going on a 13-play drive, led by the running of Kevin Stine, who had 103 yards ruing on the afternoon and the crisp passing of Dan Murphy. However, Murphy k fumbled the ball at the goalline, and the Bears recovered.
“We were mad on the sideline, but we were ready because we knew they could not stop us,’ Murphy said. “We just wanted another chance because we knew we could score on them.’
And right Murphy was, although it had to wait until the second quarter. Stine rolled around the right side for a 14-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Later in the period, Pat Corcoran fielded a punt on the Upper Moreland 46, made a couple of moves and raced into the end zone to bump the adavantage to 14-0.
With the Eagles defense clamping down on Upper Moreland, 14 points would probably have been enough, but the Shanahan offense kept purring right along. Murphy hit a wide open Cody Smith down the left sideline for a 65-yard score. Stine rumbled in from 28 just before halftime for a 27-0 lead at the break.
“The coaches called the play and tonight, our line was fantastic,’ Murphy said. “They have been good all year, but tonight, they really did the job giving me a lot of time to throw the ball.’
Upper Moreland had just one first down at halftime and had not crossed midfield. Smith and Costin were wreaking havoc, sacking quarterback Colin Abrams twice and consistently putting them in long yardage situations.
“We saw on film that we were bigger and more physical than they were,’ Shanahan head coach Paul Meyers said. “And we just let Cody and Doug loose and let them do their thing. And after our early fumble, the seniors got everybody pumped on the bench and wanted to get right back out there and get the ball again.’
Shanahan’s defense did the job again in the second half with the Golden Bears’ only score coming on a Whitmore four-yard run in the fourth to make the score 30-7.
Murphy rounded out the scoring with a nifty 41-yard TD jaunt with less than four minutes to play to have the Eagles one win away from playing for a district.
“It’s great to be a part of school history,’ Murphy said. “Now we have to have a good week of practice and get ready for Great Valley.’