NEPA Sports Nation

Comets hold off B-P rally, 21-14

Crestwood’s Nick Miscavage has five November interceptions in four playoff games. Shown here against Valley View in last week’s District 2 championship game, he had another in Saturday’s state playoff game.

By Tom Robinson,

PHILADELPHIA – Nick Miscavage and Matt Sklarosky came up with end-zone interceptions and the Crestwood defense came up with key two stops in the final eight minutes Saturday afternoon as the Comets held off a late surge from Monsignor Bonner-Archbishop Prendergast to post a 21-14 victory in a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class 4A football state quarterfinal at Northeast High School.

Noah Schultz scored two touchdowns and Jaden Shedlock had a hand in two as Crestwood built a 21-7 halftime lead by scoring on three of the game’s four longest plays.

The Friars, however, solved the Comets offense while mounting a second-half comeback that put the onus on Crestwood’s defense to secure the victory.

Bonner-Prendie held Crestwood to seven yards total offense and one first down on four second-half possessions, but the defense repeatedly came up with the big plays needed to advance the Comets (13-1) into Friday’s semifinal against District 3 champion Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt at Exeter Township High School at 7 p.m.

“It was an incredible job by our defensive backs,” Crestwood coach Ryan Arcangeli said. “ … These guys have cemented themselves as the best team to ever come through Crestwood.

“To go through that schedule to be the last team standing in District 2 and then to win a state game in their backyard, we’ll take it all day long. I’m so proud of our guys.”

Arcangeli praised the Crestwood fans for making the trip to make sure the game did not feel like a home game to the Philadelphia Catholic League champions.

“The Pennsylvania hunters hung up their rifles to the side to come out and be a part of this,” he said. “I can’t say enough about our community.”

The Comets rewarded their fan base with an exciting, big-play first half and a second half that mixed tense moments with clutch responses.

Bonner-Prendie had all the momentum after scoring with five seconds left in the third quarter, forcing a Crestwood punt by overcoming a penalty to hold seven straight Comets plays to two yards or less, then hitting a 50-yard pass on the first play after taking over with 8:04 left.

Colin Finnegan, who came off the bench in the middle of the third-quarter scoring drive to ignite the Bonner-Prendie offense, ran for four yards to the Crestwood 33 on the next play. To that point, the Friars had outgained the Comets, 162-13, in the second half.

Crestwood’s defense did not allow Bonner-Prendie to gain an inch on its remaining seven plays.

Robert Knight came up from the secondary to stop a scramble on second down, then got back to break up a deep pass on third down.

Schultz broke up a pass on fourth-and-six.

The Friars kept charging, throwing the Comets powerful running game for three straight losses to force another punt.

“We kind of moved our tackles in and our ends out,” Bonner-Prendie coach Jack Muldoon said. “We tried to get them going side to side.

“We knew they were not going to throw much with a 14-point lead.”

Crestwood linebacker Cole Kakalecik knew what to expect on the next play, however, and the Friars never got anything going after taking over at their 34 with 3:30 left.

Kakalecik read a swing pass and got there to meet the receiver for a six-yard loss.

“I saw they had trips to the one side and they threw back side to the running back and I was all over it,” said Kakalecik, the team’s season tackles leader who had three tackles for 15 yards in losses, including a sack, and finished with five total tackles and five assists.

Crestwood’s pass rush swarmed Finnegan again on the next play bring up third-and-23.

“We dialed up some pressure, sent the heat at them and we got home on it,” Kakalecik said.

Magnus Bibla provided the third-down pressure which forced a pass that only Miscavage had a shot at.

Then Sklarosky, who had his interception in the third quarter, broke up a pass for the third time in the game on fourth down with 2:15 left. He tied up Jallil Hall just enough to prevent another highlight-reel catch by the sophomore, who had three of them among his five third-quarter receptions.

The first half had looked much different with Schultz carrying 15 times for 138 yards and a 76-yard touchdown with 4:34 left in the half to create the two-touchdown lead.

Noah Schultz (6) and Jaden Shedlock (13), shown in a file photo from the District 2 championship game against Valley View, each accounted for two touchdowns Saturday against Bonner-Prendie.

Crestwood had first-half statistical advantages of 8-3 in first downs, 187-43 in rushing yards, 219-81 in total offense and 14:36-9:24 in time of possession.

The Comets scored on the game’s third play when Shedlock went 53 yards for a 7-0 lead. Shedlock began to head into the line, saw nothing there, stopped and hopped outside to go down the left sideline untouched.

Bonner-Prendie pinned Crestwood inside the 1 on a punt, held the Comets there and took over at the 24 following a short punt.

Hall caught a 24-yard pass from Justin Shepherd on the first play for a 7-7 tie with 6:59 left in the first quarter.

Crestwood converted two fourth downs in a 12-play, 70-yard scoring drive.

On fourth-and-10 on the first play of the second quarter, Schultz worked his way out of the backfield and down the left side while Shedlock pump-faked to the right. Shedlock then turned to find Schultz wide open for a 28-yard touchdown.

Bonner-Prendie took over at the Crestwood 36 after another positive exchange of punts and moved to the 9 midway through the second quarter.

Miscavage made a quick break on the ball for his sixth interception of the season and ran the ball out of the end zone to the 21.

“It got gritty out there,” Arcangeli said. “They lived in the Red Zone, but we kept them out more times than they did us.”

The Friars got their only second-half score when Finnegan accounted for 57 yards on his first four plays in the game, then hit Hall on fourth-and-goal from the 5.

“We needed to change it up,” Muldoon said of replacing the second-team, all-PCL quarterback with Finnegan, who led an up-tempo attack and provided a needed running option. “ … It was a tough decision, but it got us moving.”

Kakalecik, Knight, Schultz, Sklarosky and the rest of the defensive unit stopped them just in time.


Boxscore: Crestwood vs. Bonner-Prendie | NEPA Football.

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