Bishop McDevitt’s run ended by Old Forge in PIAA Class A quarters

CHESTNUTHILL >> After its 35-19 win a week ago over Marian Catholic, Bishop McDevitt looked like an unstoppable force trudging through the playoffs.

The Lancers looked as if they were a sports car driving 100 miles per hour down the highway. Friday night in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals against Old Forge, McDevitt hit a brick wall falling 51-7 to the District Two champion at Pleasant Valley High School.

“We just didn’t have anything today,” Bishop McDevitt coach Pat Manzi said. “On either side of the ball. I don’t know what explanation there is for it. We felt good. We had a good week of practice but it certainly didn’t show today.”

Old Forge scored on the first play from scrimmage as Cooper Califano rushed for 65 yards right up the middle for the score. It would be the first, but far from the last time the Lancers saw Califano in their end zone.

Seven minutes after his first TD, Califano hit paydirt again, running it in from 22 yards out to give Old Forge a 13-0 lead.

“He had good blocking,” said McDevitt safety and running back Dontae Mason of Califano, who ran for 255 yards and six touchdowns on 29 carries. “We just didn’t come to play our best ball.”

McDevitt responded to the second Califano score as Max Bryson hit Jaron Macon for a 42-yard touchdown, cutting the Devils’ lead to six.

Two more Califano touchdowns gave Old Forge a 26-7 lead heading into halftime. The 19-point lead seemed significant heading into the locker room given the Lancers sloppy play and lack of possession left marked room for improvement. But the big play ability McDevitt has demonstrated throughout the season and particularly in the past five or so weeks a comeback bid appeared doable.

“We were feeling like we had to leave everything on the line,” said Mason of the team’s mindset at halftime. “We didn’t want this to be our last game.”

Old Forge squashed any McDevitt comeback attempt quickly. After the Lancers received the second-half kickoff, Bryson was intercepted on the first play out of the half. The Devils turned the takeaway into points with, of course, a Califano touchdown.

After Califano’s fifth touchdown, Old Forge kicked an onside kick and scored two plays later on a Brendan Mozeleski 50-yard bolt, breaking the back of the Lancers.

Given the fact the game had over 25 penalties between the two teams and circumstances such as the on side kick and a couple turnovers, McDevitt did not run that many offensive plays. However, when the Lancers were on offense they failed to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers.

Mason, who had been on tear and the Lancers best playmaker all year, ran the ball only four times, was 0-for-4 passing and had two catches for 21 yards. Vince Dileo, who also had proven to be a dynamic player, had only one catch for six yards and did not have a carry. Dileo was ejected in the second half of the game but not until the outcome was not in doubt.

“They just covered us well,” Mason said. “They had two people. One person underneath and one person over top of all of us. There wasn’t much that we could do.”

Anytime a season ends with a single elimination playoff the ending always come abruptly but the McDevitt season ends very bluntly as the Lancers were playing so well entering the game.

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