Bishop Canevin tops Greensburg Central Catholic in matchup of Class A contenders

Saturday, September 3, 2022 | 10:58 PM

Last year, on what turned out to be a drive to the WPIAL Class A championship, Bishop Canevin coach Rich Johnson always said that defense was his team’s calling card.

That proved to be the case Saturday night as the Crusaders held Greensburg Central Catholic to one first down in the second half — that coming on a pass interference penalty — in a 30-14 victory over the Centurions at Dormont Stadium.

It was a nonconference game but also a possible preview of the WPIAL playoffs.

Junior running back Marquis Carter led the No. 1-ranked Crusaders with 221 rushing yards on 20 carries, and the Bishop Canevin defense sacked Centurions quarterback Tyree Turner six times.

“They played hard, they played fast and they played physical. That’s what we hang our hat on,” Johnson said. “We’re coming out in the second half and playing better, but we’ve can’t allow teams to be in the game in the first half because in the second half, who knows what happens.”

With the Centurions in front 14-13, Greensburg Central Catholic was driving for another score at the Crusaders 5. After several penalties on each side, a pass intended for Nate Dlugos was broken up in the end zone by A’Zjaun Marshall on fourth down.

Bishop Canevin then drove to the GCC 7 in 10 plays and stalled. A 25-yard field goal by Geno DeFrank with 35 seconds left in the half gave the Crusaders the lead for good.

“We just dug in. We told them to play as hard as they possibly can, do what they need to do and tonight we did,” Johnson said.

Said GCC coach Marko Thomas: “I thought we were able to move the ball in the first half. Then we just kind of fell apart. Give the credit to them. They’re a good team. They’re the toughest team until someone knocks them off.”

Both teams are now 1-1 on the season.

Centurions freshman Samir Crosby had a spectacular game, catching five passes for 105 yards, running back a kickoff 72 yards for a score and intercepting two passes.

“I told him he’s not a ninth grader,” Thomas said. “He plays like he belongs, and he definitely steps up. You look at the kid, he doesn’t come off the field. He’s on the field every single play, and he never asks to come off.”

The 221 yards was a career high for Carter.

“The first quarter, the first big run I had was a spark,” Carter said of his 47-yard gain the second time he touched the ball. “It gave me confidence for the rest of the game. When we stopped them at the 5, that gave us confidence for our field goal drive.”

Xavier Nelson of Bishop Canevin had an interception and a 39-yard scoring pass from Jason Cross.

The Crusaders had 12 penalties for 113 yards and GCC 11 penalties for 65 yards.

“It’s the little things we’ve got to clean up. Hopefully, we can win the second time we play them,” Thomas said with a smile.

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