QB Bryce Lauletta. It was run back 56 yards by Brendan Dearing to the Cougars’ 3-yard line. Joe Gueriera ran it from two-yards out for the Shanahan touchdown.
Dan Liaudatis tied the game on a two-yard plunge. Liaudatis carried the ball 31 times for 107 yards, also running out of the Wildcat often. The Cougars ended up with 291 yards on the night.
“It is something we have toyed with, but tonight, we used it a lot,” Downingtown East head coach Mike Matta said of the formation. “We have to get the ball into Jeremy’s hands as much as possible, and tonight, we did that.”
Bothe teams had chances to break the deadlock. Shanahan missed a 21-yard field goal attempt, while the Cougars ran a fake field goal try that was stuffed at the end of the first half.
Shanahan (2-2, 6-2) had a 14-7 lead after three as Eagles quarterback Nick Skulski hit Dearing on a 38 yard slant pass for the score.
But, right there, the Cougars decided to make a statement that they were not the team that lost to Coatesville.
Downingtown East scored three touchdowns in five minutes to take a 28-14 lead with just over seven minutes to play in the fourth. East used its big offensive line to wear down the Eagles’ front wall. Liaudatis scored untouched on a 12-yard run, then Jennings took over the game, scoring on runs of 30 and 75 yards for a 28-14 advantage.
“They started to wear us out up front,” Bishop Shanahan head coach Paul Meyers said. “They are so big up front, and our defense was on the field a long time tonight.”
Down 14 points, Shanahan did not roll over. They went on a nineplay drive behind the passing of Skulski, who hit Gueriera with a 14-yard pass for a first down deep in Cougars territory. Three plays later, Skulski hooked up with John Kozinski in the corner of the end zone for a two-yard touchdown toss to close the gap to 28-21 with 3:58 to play. Dearing, who had a big catch on the drive, led the Eagles with five receptions for 103 yards.
The Eagles forced a Downingtown East punt to get the ball back with just three minutes remaining.
This time, the Cougars stiffened, forcing four straight incompletions to get to make the short drive back to East with the victory.
“It was tough tonight, but I was glad to see some kids that did not have good first halfs to turn things around late in the game.” Matta said. The kids could have quit if they had any doubt, but they didn’t. This was a character win for our club. Shanahan was tough. Number 1 (Skulski) is a real ball player. And they played tough defense. Paul always does a good job with his kids.”
Note: Jack Whalen led Shanahan with nine tackles.