**Note: This article originally published in The Reporter and on PaPrepLive.com**
SPRINGFIELD >> The Lansdale Catholic football team had used a strong running game and solid defense all year long to reach the Philadelphia Catholic League Class AA final. While their defense again proved to be strong, the offense couldn’t find a way to punch the ball in the end zone against West Catholic in a 7-6 loss Saturday.
“You’re not gonna win a lot of games with two field goals,” LC coach Tom Kirk said. “We knew we had to get touchdowns. It was disappointing but I guess when you look at this game being the way it was defensively it was just two teams battling offensively. Points were a premium.”
Ryan Carbone’s two field goals came from 35 and 33 yards out. Those were the only two times in the game the Crusaders were able to reach the red zone.
“They just have maybe a few more defensive weapons than we have offensive weapons,” Kirk said. “Big guys and obviously well coached. We had to earn every yard out there.
We hope, sometimes, to be able to break a big one and we weren’t able to do that today. Makes it tough to score a whole lot of points.”
LC mustered just 125 total yards of offense for the game, averaging just 2.7 yards per play.
Despite both teams averaging 27.6 points per game coming in, the first quarter was anything but an offensive display. West Catholic ran 12 plays in the opening quarter for 28 yards. Comparatively, LC ran 13 plays and actually went backwards, registering -3 total yards.
“Proud of our defense all year,” Kirk said. “We gave up less than 12 points (per game) all year, gave up less than seven today. From an offensive standpoint you just have to believe if your defense is only giving up seven points you’re in a position to win, which we were.”
LC allowed only 264 total yards on the day to West Catholic, 81 of which came on two pass plays.
The breakthrough in the game came for the Burrs through the air a little over 3 minutes into the second quarter. After starting the drive on their own seven, quarterback Josh Evans found Jameer Bryson for a 41-yard completion. Evans found Craig Jones two plays later for a 40-yard touchdown. Jones also converted the extra point to give West Catholic a 7-0 lead.
Evans ended the half with 101 yards passing on 4-6. Jones had two catches for 50 yards and his touchdown. He finished the game with 132 yards through the air.
The rest of the first half saw more defensive control, which was the theme of the opening 24 minutes.
The Lansdale Catholic defense was able to recover a West lateral for a turnover. The Crusaders also got a sack from Andrew Huggins, who was a disruption in the backfield the entire first half. Ifeanyi Okorji added a sack of his own in the second half.
West Catholic’s defense, not to be outdone, recorded three sacks in the first half, two from Rovny Da’Silva. The Crusaders were able to muster just 23 total yards on the Burr defense for the first 24 minutes.
It took until there were 21 seconds left in the half for LC to get on the board, as kicker Ryan Carbone was able to use the win in his favor to convert a 35-yard field goal. That led the teams into the locker room with West Catholic leading 7-3.
After receiving the opening kickoff West looked like they were going to take control as they moved the ball down the field with ease. They stalled on the LC 10 however, as the defense again stood tall and got a turnover on downs.
The ensuing drive saw the Crusaders wake up a bit as well, as they were able to drive into Carbone’s field goal range once again. His conversion, again with the wind, from 33 yards out got Lansdale Catholic to within 7-6.
“We had to make some adjustments at halftime…pressure on our quarterback all day, not a whole lot of time back there made it difficult for us to do an awful lot of stuff.”
The Burrs recorded four sacks in the game, and quarterback Mike Basilii was scrambling all day. He finished the game 4-9 with 45 yards passing.
If there was an offensive standout for LC it was senior Ryan Quigley, who managed 63 yards rushing.
There will be a day when coach Kirk will look back on this season and smile, as he led the Crusaders to an 8-3 record and further into the PCL playoffs this year than last. That time understandably hasn’t come yet, however.
“I guess when I look back at this year and think of eight wins and getting to the championship it will be (positive),” Kirk said. “Right now it doesn’t feel that way.”