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Canevin Crusaders fall in championship game

Photos by Mike Longo Jr.; Crusaders Keyshawn McCaskill stiif arms a Union tackle.


By Mike Longo Jr.

On paper, this game should have been a route, turns out it was exactly that, with a final score of 26-0.

On paper, a No. 10 seed in the championship bracket has no business being in the title game against the No. one seed. And on paper, the 10-seeded team shouldn't engage any thoughts of winning and hoisting the trophy. Good thing for the Union Scotties a championship game isn't played on paper, it takes place on the field.

Bishop Canevin, the Class A powerhouse all season with just one loss, and the defending WPIAL Champs from a year ago, found out firsthand that an underdog should never be taken for granted.

Union, seeking their first WPIAL title in 63 years routed the Crusaders 26-0 on a day when nothing went according to plan for Bishop Canevin.

Bishop Canevin Quarterback Jason Cross gets sacked.

It seemed as if their game plan was typical of all season, pick apart the defense with pass after pass and open up the running attack. With a talent-laden team, it appeared to be a no-brainer. Only problem, nobody told the Union Scotties defensive unit they were supposed to roll over and play dead.

Bishop Canevin found that out early and often as the Scotties defense resembled a group of junkyard dogs, fierce, mean and fast. Hit after bone-rattling hit had the Crusaders back on their heels the entire contest. With somewhat ease they ran through the Crusader offensive line wreaking havoc in the backfield forcing fumbles and sacking both of the Crusader quarterbacks.

Union's defensive secondary was stellar as well, breaking up passes with regularity. It was a total team effort to the like that the Crusaders haven't seen all season.

The first quarter ended with Union holding a narrow 8-0 lead. In the second stanza, the Bishop Canevin defense kicked into high gear and resembled championship caliber as they shut out the Scotties. One small issue, the Crusaders offense failed to produce any points and the score remained 8-0 Union at the break.

The third quarter saw the wheels come off the Crusaders wagon as they allowed Union to score 18 uncontested points as the Crusaders turnovers mounted.

Trailing 26-0 at the start of the final quarter, it seemed as if Bishop Canevin's high-powered offense was about to take flight, until a costly turnover, No. four on the day spelled doom. The rest of the game was scoreless, but by then the damage was done and a new champion was crowned.

Bishop Canevin's powerhouse offense was powerless for the afternoon. Speedsters in the rushing department, Keyshawn McCaskill (25 yards), Jason Cross (seven yards), Marquis Carter (two yards), and Xavier Nelson (zero yards) never had the chance to open up the attack. After tallying in negative yards, the Crusaders rushing game could only tally 19 yards on nine rushing attempts.

The Crusader's passing attack didn't fare much better from a quarterback standpoint as the duo of Kole Olszewski (8 of 15 for 146 yards with two interceptions) and Jason Cross (three of six for 24 yards) never posed much of a threat.

Receiving, Jason Cross grabbed two passes for 64 yards, Jayden Lindsey had two catches for 33 yards, Az'Jaun Marshall three for 13 yards and Xavier Nelson snagged four passes good for 60 yards.

After an amazing run again this season following last season’s title, this loss is surely a tough one to swallow for the Crusaders and will take a while to get over.



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