Mason returns 2 kickoffs for TDs, Bishop McDevitt advances to PIAA Class A quarters

PHILADELPHIA >> It is said that a football game is usually decided by a handful of plays throughout the game.

That cliché stood true and Dontae Mason made just about all the game changing plays that boosted Bishop McDevitt to a 35-19 PIAA Class A first-round victory against Marian Catholic Friday night at the Ben Johnston Supersite.

“We just came in here hungry because we didn’t know anything about this team and they didn’t know anything about us so we had to set the tone,” Mason said.

The Lancers came out of halftime with a 7-0 lead. It took Mason 17 seconds to give McDevitt a two score lead, as he took the opening kickoff of the second half 85 yards for a touchdown.

“I just read the blocks,” Mason said of his return. “Once they set up the blocks I just saw daylight and kept going.”

Late in the third quarter, Mason struck again. The Lancers saw their 21-0 lead shrink to 21-13 after Colts got a major momentum swing play, blocking a McDevitt punt for a touchdown. But Mason took the ensuing kickoff 86 yards to give the Lancers a two-score lead again.

“When they scored the team said we need to score and we need to score fast,” the speedy senior said of the potential momentum change on the blocked punt. “I said set up a block I got y’all.”

An overlooked play in the game was another explosive play by Mason. McDevitt went three-and-out on its first two offensive possessions. On its first play of its third possession, quarterback Max Bryson hit Mason on drag route across the middle and Mason did the rest as the play resulted in a 55-yard touchdown to open the scoring with the TD standing as the only score in the first half.

“There’s no doubt different moments in this game could’ve changed (the outcome),” McDevitt coach Pat Manzi said.

Bryson, who had been recovering from a knee injury for the past three or four weeks, played his best game statistically since returning. The junior threw for 153 yards and a pair of scores. The return of a fully healthy Bryson maximizes the potency of the McDevitt offensive attack.

“My knee doesn’t really bother me as much anymore so I can move around a lot easier and I can make more plays,” the junior signal caller said.

The wave of momentum that the Lancers are riding right now has the look of a championship team. They are healthy, they are confident and they are peaking at the right time. Just when it looks like there is no possible way McDevitt can reach down deeper it hits another gear.

McDevitt now moves on to the quarterfinals of the Class A playoffs and face the winner of Old Forge and Wellsboro. Whatever team the Lancers will face will have to bring its ‘A’ game or it too will become just another speed bump in McDevitt’s quest for a state title.

“If practice and everything else goes as planned I believe we can win a state championship,” junior lineman Daniel Church said.

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