Red-hot Bishop Canevin rolls past South Side into WPIAL Class A finals

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Saturday, November 19, 2022 | 12:03 AM


Despite frigid temperatures for Friday night football, Bishop Canevin’s offense was red hot.

The top-seeded Crusaders scored on all six of their first-half offensive possessions, overwhelming fifth-seeded South Side, 49-21, in the WPIAL Class A semifinals.

“Until you see them in person, you don’t realize just how fast they are,” South Side coach Luke Travelpiece said. “They’re talented across the field. They were able to utilize that speed and space.”

The Crusaders (12-1) needed only 16 plays to score six times in the first half. Quarterback Jason Cross threw for four touchdowns and ran for another. With a 49-14 halftime lead, the mercy rule was in effect to start the second half. For Bishop Canevin, the capability for this type of performance was built long ago.

“We worked very hard in the offseason,” Bishop Canevin coach Richard Johnson said. “We push them. We’re hard on them. We preach discipline. Today everything came to fruition. These kids want it.”

Cross found La’Sae Lacks with a 51-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring. Lacks had another touchdown catch later in the first quarter. Touchdown runs from Cross and running back Marquis Carter helped to pad the lead.

Another bright spot for Bishop Canevin was receiver Xaiver Nelson. On offense, he caught two long touchdowns. The first was a 52-yard grab, and the next came from 81 yards out. Nelson also had a 80-yard interception return for a touchdown. The long plays helped to showcase the senior’s ability.

“He’s an extra special kid,” Johnson said. “When he catches the football, it’s a sight to see. I’m happy he’s on my sideline. He definitely came through.”

The Rams (11-2) enjoyed early touchdowns from Andrew Corfield and Ryan Navarra. However, they turned the ball over twice late in the first half, allowing the Crusaders to begin running away. Despite the large halftime deficit, quarterback Brody Almashy scored the game’s only touchdown of the second half.

“At halftime, it was a 35-point game,” Travelpiece said. “We didn’t talk about the game. We talked about finishing what we started and doing it the right way. I felt like we did that in the second half.”

After two playoff wins, the semifinal loss ended the season for South Side.

“It was a good year for us,” Travelpiece said. “We had the second-most wins in school history. It’s something that our guys can hang their hats on.”

The Crusaders will face the 10th-seeded Union Scotties at 11 a.m. next Friday for the WPIAL A championship. They’ll look to win district gold for the second consecutive season.

“We’re not finished,” Johnson said. “We’re happy to get down there. We just want to play. Let’s play ball.”

Watch an archived video stream of this broadcast on Trib HSSN.

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