Washington upsets Serra Catholic in opening round

Friday, November 4, 2022 | 11:52 PM

There will be a new champion in the WPIAL’s Class 2A classification after defending champion Serra Catholic was upset and dethroned Friday night.

No. 12 Washington got three takeaways and two defensive touchdowns from Carlos Harper, and Eddie Lewis ran for 197 yards on 20 carries to lead the Prexies to a 49-21 win over the Eagles at Norwin High School.

“Last game was close, and we knew we made a few mistakes in that game and they got the big play,” Washington coach Mike Bosnic said. “We were confident coming in, and we thought this was a really good matchup for us.”

The teams were back and forth throughout the first half.

After the Prexies (7-4) went up 21-14 in the second quarter, they got the cushion they needed when Harper scooped up an Elijah Ward fumble at the 1-yard line and rolled 99 yards the other way for a score.

“Carlos led us tonight,” Bosnic said. “He played the way we all know he can play, and he showed what a great athlete he is.”

The game was eerily similar to the team’s first meeting.

Washington took an early lead on quarterback Logan Carlisle’s 1-yard touchdown run.

Serra Catholic (7-4) immediately answered with a Ward 1-yard run.

The Prexies counted with fullback Brenden Sibert’s 22-yard touchdown run on a quick hitter through the gut of the Serra defense.

For the game, the Prexies racked up 317 yards on the ground.

“We couldn’t stop their running game, and we made way too many mistakes,” Eagles coach Jose Regus said. “Can’t win a game with that many mistakes.”

The Eagles tied the score 14-14 in the second on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Ward to Amire Spencer. The WPIAL’s leading receiver, Spencer finished with 10 catches for 136 yards.

The Prexies went ahead as Harper doubled his rushing total for the season with a 60-yard touchdown to make it 21-14.

The Eagles drove it all the way back down and looked poised to strike before Ward’s fumble turned into six points for the Prexies.

“We got those big turnovers in the first game, this time they got them. Just mistake after mistake,” Regus said.

Michael Schanck pulled the Eagles to within a touchdown with a 12-yard run, but the Prexies answered back.

After starting quarterback Logan Carlisle went out with an apparent leg injury, backup Nick Blanchette took his first snap. He executed a great play-action pass and hit Zxavian Willis with a 12-yard touchdown throw to make it 35-21 at the half.

“Nick’s a program kid. He’s a really smart player, and we have a ton of confidence he can come in there and do the job,” Bosnic said.

The Eagles were able to get stops on the powerful rushing attack of the Prexies in the second half, but they could never capitalize.

Serra Catholic turned it over five times, once on downs, a pair of fumbles, an interception in the end zone by Brayce Patterson, and the big blow, a pick-6 by Harper.

Lewis added a 29-yard touchdown run with two minutes remaining for the final score of the night.

“When he’s on and he’s seeing the hole, he hits that hole hard and quick. He’s not the biggest kid, but he’s tough to bring down,” Bosnic said.

With the win, the Prexies move on to face No. 4 Neshannock Friday at a site and time to be determined. It was their first playoff win since 2019.

“We finally played four great quarters,” Bosnic said. “It’s been a long time coming. We were able to force turnovers and get some really big plays. We need that to continue.”

Watch an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

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