In front of what was a lively crowd for homecoming, Delone Catholic put on quite the show Friday night.
The Squires raced out to a 27-7 halftime lead over Bermudian Springs and never looked back, finishing out the YAIAA-3 encounter with a 39-28 victory.
After starting the season 0-3, Delone has now won four in a row, including a forfeit win over York Tech, to put itself in control of its own destiny in the race for a third consecutive division championship.
“I never lost faith in our guys,” Squires coach Corey Zortman said. “I knew early on we had a lot of new guys and it’s a process, especially running an offensive system the way we do. It’s all about repetition and getting guys comfortable and I thought we had a good group.”
Delone (4-3 overall, 4-0 in Y-3) showed its quality early and often against the Eagles (2-5, 1-3). After receiving the opening kick, the Squires marched right down the field in just over three minutes, capped by a 27-yard Coltyn Keller run, to take an early 7-0 lead.
On the following possession, Delone forced a quick three-and-out from a Bermudian offense that was without starting running back Ricky Pacana for the first quarter due to unspecified reasons. After taking back over around midfield, the Squires immediately marched into the red zone. Only a sack of quarterback Ryder Noel slowed the drive and it ended with a Justin Emeigh 25-yard kick to make the score 10-0.
That’s where we remained into the second quarter as Delone was once again in business after forcing a quick punt and taking over near midfield. This time, it was Noel to Keller through the air that moved the Squires into plus territory before a 15-yard Keller run moved the ball into the red zone. Shortly thereafter, Landen Eckert took a carry 10 yards through the heart of the Eagles’ defense to make 17-0 with just over 10 minutes left in the half.
“They’re a very different style,” Zortman said of the backfield trio of Eckert, Keller and Dylan Staub which is replacing star running back Tate Neiderer, who graduated a year ago. “Tate was a different style. He was a physical runner, but he was also flashy. Our guys this year are all a similar style. They’re physical runners and I think they all compliment each other really well.”
After an exchange of punts, the Eagles finally got something going. After taking over at their own 18 with four minutes left in the half, Bermudian marched 82 yards in just 1:51, capped by an Ethan Beachy pass to Pacana on the sideline to make it 17-7 with 2:09 left before the break.
The momentum was short-lived, however, as the ensuing kickoff was taken short by Gage Zimmerman, who then burst forward through the Eagles’ coverage team and into the end zone for an 82-yard touchdown, making the score 24-7. Emeigh then added another field goal, this time from 26 yards out, to make the lead 27-7 at the break.
Out of the break, things were a bit more even. Bermudian received the kick, starting at its own 39-yard line. The Eagles quickly moved into Delone territory and on fourth-and-nine from the Squires’ 34, Beach hit Jack Gautsch for a 29-yard hookup to the Squires’ 5. One play later, Pacana took a toss left and into the end zone to make it 27-14.
Unfortunately for Bermudian, it couldn’t get the momentum to stick. Another short kick set Delone up in good field position and on the third play of the drive, homecoming king Dylan Staub darted up the middle for a 48-yard touchdown to push it back out to 33-14 after Emeigh’s kick missed wide right.
The Squires took that 19-point lead into the fourth quarter before a 4-yard Chanse Boyer touchdown run cut it back to 33-21 with just under nine minutes to play, but Delone put the game less than 30 seconds when Keller dashed in from 46 yards out to extend the lead back out to 39-21.
“We’ve always had confidence in ourselves. We never lost it.” Keller said afterward. “We’re just going to keep going out, practicing hard every week and going hard every game, and I think that we can do anything.”
That confidence will be put to the test in the weeks to come as Delone first travels to Fairfield before welcoming York Catholic in a pair of games that will likely decide the division winner.
“They’ve got a large group back, and when you play small ball like us and you can bring back returning starters and a senior-oriented group, you know you’ve got a chance to be a real good football team,” Zortman said of facing the Knights. “So we’re just going to half to keep moving forward and keeping working hard.”
Clay Sauertieg can be reached at email@example.com
Bermudian Springs 0 7 7 14 - 28
Delone Catholic 10 17 6 6 - 39
DC-Coltyn Keller, 27 run (Justin Emeigh kick), 8:59.
DC-Emeigh, 25 field goal, 2:15.
DC-Landen Eckert, 10 run (Emeigh kick), 10:13.
BS-Ricky Pacana, 10 pass from Ethan Beachy (Jacob Keller kick), 2:07.
DC-Gage Zimmerman, 81 kick return (Emeigh kick), 1:54.
DC-Emeigh, 27 field goal, :05.
BS-Pacana, 5 run (Keller kick), 6:18,
DC-Dylan Staub, 48 run (kick failed), 4:02
BS-Chanse Boyer, 4 run (Keller kick), 8:47
DC-Keller, 46 run (pass failed), 8:33
BS-Pacana, 68 pass from Beachy (Keller kick), 2:17.
First downs 13 13
Rushing 39-128 41-297
Passing 8-15-0 3-5-0
Passing yards 221 52
Totals yards 349 349
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 5-30 6-40
Punting 5-25.4 2-38.5
Rushing: BS-Dalton Litzinger 1-3, Chanse Boyer 15-60, Brennan Schisler 8-13, Tyler Staub 1-(-4), Ricky Pacana 8-45, Michael Carlson 1-1, Ethan Beachy 5-10; DC-Landen Eckert 16-89, Coltyn Keller 9-113, Dylan Staub 7-87, Ryder Noel 4-4, Artem Reichart 5-9.
Passing: BS-Beachy 8-15-0-221; Noel 3-5-0-52
Receiving: BS-Boyer 1-4, Carlson 4-110, Pacana 2-78, Jack Gautsch 1-29; DC-Keller 1-15, Zimmerman 2-37