Lansdale Catholic soars by the shore in win over Penn Charter

OCEAN CITY, N.J. — Ryan Quigley powered his way to 140 yards on the ground on Saturday against non-league foe Penn Charter, including two scores that helped tilt control to Lansdale Catholic.

But even before his very first carry of the game, his impact was monumental.

“I just read it,” Quigley said of his interception on the fifth play from scrimmage. “I was in position, doing my job, just like the other 10 guys on the field. It was a tipped ball, I got it, and I just tried to take it across the field and get it into the corner.”

A pass by Quakers quarterback Michael Hnatkowsky was too tall for his intended receiver, bouncing off his fingertips and into the hands of Quigley. The senior free safety raced down the right sideline, cut it back to the left and climaxed the effort by extending the ball inside the pylon and over the goal line for a 65-yard touchdown return that sent the Crusaders on their way to a 21-6 victory over Penn Charter in the season opener for both squads at Ocean City High School.

“I thought we played our hearts out today,” Quigley said. “I couldn’t be more proud of every one of us. Everyone did their job, focused on what they had to do. It was a great team win today.”

Quigley’s score, making it 7-0 barely three minutes into the contest, was the gem in an all-together outstanding performance by the defense. The Crusaders had four sacks, including a pair by Vincent Picozzi (6-foot-4, 271), and — with tight coverage downfield — allowed Hnatkowsky just five completions in 14 attempts.

“The people who we challenged this week specifically were our defensive backs,” LC coach Tom Kirk said. “We said to them, ‘we want a defensive touchdown.’ They’re all seniors, they all have played, and I thought those were the guys that had to step up. They were phenomenal.”

By early in the second quarter, LC had limited Penn Charter to just four yards of offense. At that point, the Crusaders had doubled their lead to 14-0, capping a quick, five-play drive with a 14-yard touchdown run by Quigley.

The senior found a seam up the middle, ran through an arm tackle and kept his balance to churn his way over the goal line for LC’s first offensive score of 2015.

The Crusaders would go on to move the ball consistently all afternoon. Marlen Fenstermacher gained 73 yards on the ground and also caught a 23-yard pass from quarterback Michael Basilii to to keep the game-clinching drive alive.

“We’re older. We’re more mature,” Kirk said. “We talked all offseason about having a lot of seniors — it’s the most seniors that I’ve had since I’ve been at Lansdale Catholic, so when you have 18 seniors, you better be better than you were the year before. Truly, it’s our expectation.”

Penn Charter was able to cut the margin to 14-6 before halftime when Cody Sweeney finished off a 12-play drive with a five-yard run, but the extra-point attempt sailed wide, leaving the margin at eight.

The Crusader defense made two key stops in the third quarter and then the offense added to the lead in the fourth, as Quigley scored from two yards out, putting the game away at 21-6.

The salt water taffy always tastes sweeter after a victory.

“It’s a good way to start off, especially down the shore,” Quigley said. “With both of our soccer teams playing and our football team playing, it’s a great way to start off the season. We’re gonna take this into next week. We have a big game at Springfield Montco and we’re gonna take this momentum.”

Jake McCain finished with 67 yards rushing for the Quakers, but Penn Charter was stopped on a 4th-and-goal in the third quarter and, thanks to Quigley’s early score, was playing from behind right from the start.

“We watched film (on LC), and that kid, 21 — Quigley, in the two films we saw of him, he made plays,” Quakers coach Tom Coyle said. “We saw him score from the backfield, as a receiver, and on defense. You gotta give him credit. He intercepts the ball, and he isn’t happy with just intercepting the ball. He made a few guys miss, went 65 yards — he’s a playmaking kid.”

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