Bonner-Prendergast quickly turns page on lopsided defeat

UPPER DARBY >> When Bonner-Prendie lost to Archbishop Ryan in the last football postseason, Friars’ coach Greg Bernhardt brought home one souvenir. It was just a matter of time before he would bring it back out.

Saturday, at Upper Darby High, was that time.

After the Friars fell, 35-12, to Ryan in a Catholic League AAA game, Bernhardt was quick to tell the story about the 2014 season. That’s when Bonner-Prendie defeated the Raiders in the regular season, only to be knocked out by them in the postseason.

Give and take, back and forth, win some, lose some … that’s the recent history of the rivalry. So why not again?

“We’ve just got to keep getting better,” Bernhardt said. “Hey, we’re 1-1 in the league now. And odds are we might play them again, like last year. It’s not definite right now. Obviously, there are still some games to play. And if we have a chance, I know we will be looking forward to it.”

Odds are, the Friars will be in no particular hurry to see Ryan quarterback Matt Romano, who Saturday passed for 251 yards and two touchdowns, including a 38-yard highlight to Shamar Edwards with 4:46 left to puncture a Bonner-Prendie rally.

But as the Raiders (3-3) and Friars (2-4) left the field, their identical 1-1 league records might better have reflected the rivalry than the 23-point final spread.

“We had some opportunities to make plays and didn’t,” Bernhardt said. “And they had some opportunities and did. That’s the difference. They were a better football team today, but, hey, we’ll keep grinding, keep getting better and see where we can go from here.”

Building on its quick start, Ryan doubled its lead by halftime on a four-yard scoring pass from Romano to Jeremy Smith. Jaye McNeil, who would rush for a game-high 81 yards, added a two-yard third-quarter touchdown run, good for a 21-0 advantage.

Its defense swarming, Ryan bookended the game with interception-return touchdowns, Jason Wagher victimizing Bonner quarterback Evan Raiburn for a 35-yard score on the game’s first play from scrimmage, and Drew Obuchowicz picking off Shaun Douglas and racing 33 yards with 4:26 to play. Mix in the Friars’ point-after-touchdown struggles, with one kick blocked and a run snuffed, and with a little squinting it’s possible to see some balance.

“The first play of the game, they get a pick-six, and obviously it brings a lot of momentum to their side,” Douglas said. “So we talked at halftime, made some adjustments, came back in the second half and scored twice. They just happened to catch a couple of big breaks.”

Still, the Friars would rally in the fourth quarter, drawing within nine points, drawing some encouragement that they may use later.

“I don’t think they are three touchdowns better than us,” Bernhardt said. “Obviously, to anyone who watched the game, they scored twice on defense. We have to clean it up. But the score was not indicative of the game.”

By the time Obuchowicz created the blowout look, Douglas was already in take-a-chance mode. And his arm had helped Bonner-Prendie narrow a 21-0 deficit to 21-12 with 8:37 to play. First, Douglas hit Alex Coll with a 47-yard TD pass to announce B-P’s belated arrival with 11:50 left. Then after ending the next Ryan possession with an interception at the Bonner 36, the two-way threat found Jordan Mosley, who made a leaping catch in traffic and rolled into the end zone for a 40-yard score.

“I just trust my receivers,” said Douglas, who passed for 188 yards. “I know I can throw the ball up and they will go and get it.”

After playing from behind for all but the game’s first 19 seconds, B-P had little left, and Ryan would take the regular-season meeting. However?

“Our offense at the beginning of the season wasn’t doing anything, but now we are somewhat starting to put up points, so that’s good,” Mosley said. “Our defense is pretty good. So if you put it all together for one game, we can get better.

“We think we are going to the playoffs. We think we’re good enough to go to the playoffs. We’re probably going to see them again. I’m looking forward to it.”

One quick glance at recent history would reveal at least one reason why.

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