Berks Catholic blasts Newport 48-0 to return to District 3-AA final

READING — Philadelphia Eagles fans have quickly fallen in love with their dual-threat backfield consisting of speedster Darren Sproles alongside the always-elusive LeSean ‘ Shady’ McCoy.

Fans would have equally enjoyed what they saw from Pop Lacey, Marcus Wilson and Berks Catholic at Forino Sports Complex Friday night as the defending champion Saints handily defeated Newport 48-0 in the District 3-AA semifinals.

With the win, the Saints will face Wyomissing — a 26-7 winner over Bermudian Springs — next Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium. Berks Catholic bested Wyomissing 19-14 in their regular season finales on Nov. 1.

On the shoulders of Lacey’s 169 rushing yards and Wilson’s 111, five Berks Catholic (13-0) rushers totaled 70 yards or more rushing on the night including Todd Reedy, Marco Ramos and Joe Stiles as Berks Catholic racked up 508 yards on the ground.

“It’s been the style of our offense this season,’ said Berks Catholic head coach Rick Keeley. “With our backfield, we’ve got no problems running the Wing-T. These guys run hard every play, and get really good blocking up front, which has brought us this far along on the season.’

Both teams were held scoreless in the first quarter as they traded punts back and forth and Berks Catholic lost a fumble.

But Isaac Lutz opened up the second quarter with an 8-yard touchdown run to give the Saints a 7-0 lead.

Berks Catholic then forced a Cougar three-and-out, which led to a three-play drive capped off by a 46-yard touchdown run for Stiles to make it 13-0.

“I saw the seam and just wanted to see what I could do once I got out of the backfield,’ said Stiles. “Our O-line played really well up front, they gave us a lot of opportunities to put a lot of points on the board. They really made things easy for us to run the ball.’

On the second play of the Saints next drive, Lacey took it 70 yards for the score making it 21-0 with six and a half minutes remaining in the first half.

According to Lacey, the long touchdown run came as a result of a great block from teammate Dalton Hoagland.

“I’ve got to give credit to Dalton for that touchdown run,’ he said. “I knew he was pulling on that play and was going to blow up their linebackers. He made a wide open hole for me, which completely blew up their defense.’

On the ensuing Newport drive, Lacey sacked quarterback Trevan Dorman, forcing yet another Newport three-and-out.

Lutz returned the punt 48 yards, down to the Buffaloes’ 20-yard line, to set up a 10-yard touchdown run for Lacey to make it 28-0 with just over three minutes to go in the half.

Before the halftime whistle came Wilson took a handoff and ran it 58-yards for another Saints’ touchdown.

And with that, Berks Catholic ripped off a 35-point second half for a 35-0 halftime lead.

“It took us some time to adjust to what they threw at us,’ said Wilson. “Early on, they were putting eight, sometimes nine guys in the box to try and stuff our running game. But we kept pushing them and kept running the ball hard. That second quarter definitely showed it.’

On the opening play of the second half, Newport running back Dalton Klinger took a handoff for 15 hard-fought yards, but left the game with an injury and did not return.

The Buffaloes moved the ball well on the drive, but were again forced to punt after a clipping penalty nullified a 22-yard rush by Eli Goodling.

“It just wasn’t our night tonight,’ said Newport head coach Todd Rothermel. “We never got into any sort of rhythm offensively and we couldn’t do anything to stop their offense.’

After a seven-minute, 11-play drive, Stiles found the end zone again from 10 yards out to extend the Saints’ lead to 42-0 with a minute and a half left in the third quarter.

On the ensuing Newport drive, the Buffaloes moved the ball efficiently and marched down into Saints’ territory. But on fourth-and-goal from the 12, Dorman threw an incomplete pass intended for Kevin Kissinger.

Berks Catholic took over from their own 12, and capped off the drive with a 56-yard touchdown by Ramos to seal it and give the Saints the 48-0 victory.

“I’m really proud of the way the boys came out and fought back after that tough first quarter,’ said Keeley. “They fought hard in all parts of the game, which is crucial to winning especially this late in the season. Wyomissing is going to be tough next week, but we have a lot of confidence in our guys.’

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