Shana­han moves to 5-0

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jeff Kerr jd­kerr247@gmail.com @jef­f_k­err on Twit­ter

DOWNINGTOWN >> Bren­dan Dear­ing knew he had to make a play when his num­ber was called for Bishop Shana­han.

Stuck in a dead­lock with ri­val West Ch­ester Hen­der­son late in the third quar­ter, Shana­han faced a 4th-and-8 at the War­riors 31. With kick­ing a field goal nor punt­ing as an op­tion, why not at­tempt to get the ball in the hands of your top play­maker?

The War­riors had the same mind­set and had the read once Nick Skul­ski’s pass headed Dear­ing’s way. Nick Mascetti was able to tip the deep pass, but some­how the ball landed in the hands of Dear­ing.

“I didn’t know Nick (Mascetti) was be­hind me, but when he tipped it my eyes saw the ball right away,” Dear­ing said. My hands were tun­neled on it the

whole time. I saw the ball and brought it in.”

Dear­ing’s 29-yard re­cep­tion set up An­drew Smyth’s two-yard touch­down run on the next play that ended up be­ing the de­cid­ing score in Bishop Shana­han’s 21-14 Che-Mont League Na­tional Divi­son vic­tory over West Ch­ester Hen­der­son at Jack Mancini Field Fri­day night.

Dear­ing led all re­ceivers with five catches for 76 yards on the night, but the 29-yard grab was the one that sent the Ea­gles (2-0, 5-0) un­de­feated through their first five games for the first time in school his­tory. Head coach Paul Mey­ers in­tended for that 4th-and-8 play for his go-to player.

“He was open early on that play,” Mey­ers said. “But Nick laid it out a lit­tle too long that gave the safety a chance to come over. But that’s what Bren­dan does, he just makes plays. That’s why we started feed­ing him the sec­ond half.”

Held to just one catch for 19 yards in the first half, Dear­ing had four catches for 55 yards in the third quar­ter to get the Ea­gles the lead for good.

Hen­der­son (0-2, 3-2) wasn’t go­ing down eas­ily. Trail­ing 14-7 at half­time, C.J. Pre­ston got the War­riors back in the game with runs of 44 and 12 yards on back-to-back car­ries mid­way through the third quar­ter.

The drive re­sulted in a one-yard quar­ter­back sneak from Joe Saulino to tie the game at 14-14 with 5:36 left in the third quar­ter, cap­ping a 10 play, 72 yard drive...64 of which came from the legs of Pre­ston, who fin­ished with 23 car­ries for 101 yards and a touch­down.

Thanks to the Skul­skiDear­ing com­bi­na­tion, the Ea­gles were able to re­spond on their en­su­ing drive and take the lead for good. Skul­ski found Dear­ing on a 3rd-and-4 at the Shana­han 49 for 19-yard gain to keep the scor­ing drive alive. Four plays later, Dear­ing made the catch of the night.

“We needed to come up with a big play,” Dear­ing said. “We had the game as long as our de­fense came out and ex­e­cuted. Once we scored, we knew we had to rely on our de­fense to come out on top.”

Hen­der­son only gained 30 yards of of­fense the rest of the night. Steve Sweeney sealed the War­riors fate with in in­ter­cep­tion off Saulino at the Hen­der­son 31-yard line with 2:16 left.

Hen­der­son had just 193 yards in the loss, but only al­lowed 235 to Shana­han. The War­riors have lost two straight af­ter a 3-0 start to the year, one year re­moved fro just hav­ing one win in 2015.

Shana­han is off to a 5-0 start for the first time in school his­tory, but the Ea­gles are aware they can be bet­ter af­ter fin­ish­ing with eight penal­ties for 70 yards in the win.

“It’s nice, but we’re not sat­is­fied,” Dear­ing said. “We know we could have played a lot bet­ter this week. We should have played a lot bet­ter. We had a lot of men­tal and phys­i­cal mis­takes, so we have to go back, watch film, and see what we did wrong.”

“We got to clean that up,” Mey­ers said. “We’re in the thick and the thin right now in the Ches-Mont. We got Downingtown West next week. They’re go­ing to be ready. We got to do bet­ter than what we did here.”

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