Decision to go for two pays off for Friars in win over Carroll
UPPER DARBY >> Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast was an extra point away from tying the game, but the decision had already been made. During the decisive drive, Friars coach Jack Muldoon knew what he was doing. He just didn’t know how he was going to do it.
So he called a timeout to discuss the matter. The plan was simple. Let the best athletes touch the ball and show Archbishop Carroll something it hadn’t seen before. Moments later, the Friars celebrated their first league win of the season in a wildly entertaining 21-20 Catholic League Blue victory Friday night.
The winning two-point conversion was a trick play. Quarterback Kyle Lazer tossed it to wide out Ian Edwards, who lobbed it up to tight end James Welde. Taller than anyone on the field, and a skilled basketball player, too, Welde out jumped his defender near the back of the end zone. Pandemonium in Upper Darby.
“We had that play, we just hadn’t run it yet (in a game),” Muldoon said. “We were thinking about faking the extra point, but I said ‘Let’s put the ball in the hands of guys who can make a play.’”
The play capped off a furious Friars comeback. They were down 20-7 late in the third quarter. Lazer, finally allowed to throw, cut into the lead with a 15yard
scoring pass to Welde early in the fourth quarter. After a Carroll (3-4,
1-4) punt, Nasim Cooper did a bulk of the work and capped the drive with a 13yard run. It was 20-19. The decision was of what to do next was easy.
Carroll had three minutes, 10 seconds to answer. All on the ground, it got inside the Bonner & Prendergast 15 yard line with under a minute to go. A curious third down run was stuffed for a loss. The ball was at the 20 yard line. It was 4th-and-11. Carroll coach Kyle Detweiler knew his kicker, Juliano Mastrocola, was comfortable from that distance. He sent out the field goal unit.
Mastrocola’s kick hit the crossbar.
“There is so much emotion going through them right now, they are so, so upset,” Detweiler said. “As I am. I told them — take this feeling you feel right now, carry it off the field with you, take it home over the weekend and come back ready because we gotta get ready for Lansdale Catholic next week.”
The clank set off a furious Bonner & Prendergast celebration. It had suffered defeats both embarrassing and debilitating. Friday, it earned a hard-fought victory. Now 3-6 overall and 1-4 in the league, four weeks of frustration and disappointment were dismissed.
“After we saw we were all able to stick together, we feel like we can stick with anyone, anyone if we’re all together” Lazer said. “Going into O’Hara next week, we still have to prepare and everything, this helps a lot.”
Bonner & Prendergast took an early 7-0 lead on Cooper’s 12-yard run. Its next two drives stalled inside the 10 yard line. Carroll hung tough and tied the game on Russel MinorShaw’s 15-yard pass to Billy Coppock late in the second quarter. In the third quarter, it took advantage of two different fumbles to earn that two-possession lead.
Jalil Warren cashed in the first with a four-yard run. Minor-Shaw hit Koran Butler from 26 yards out for the second. After that score, it seemed like this was going to be the same old story for Bonner & Prendergast.
But something changed amid that 13-point deficit. The Friars grew up almost instantaneously. Lazer was adamant.
“Never thought we were out of this game,” he said.
Perhaps the sophomore quarterback made them believe.
“It’s kind of what I’ve been looking for, the grit, if we were going to tough it out, if we weren’t going to let them walk up the field on us,” Muldoon said. “We talked about poise, playing with pose, from the coaches all the way to our players. I think that’s what happened, we played with some poise and they’re starting to believe they’re good enough.”