JOHNSTOWN - The Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic football team knows what it's capable of when its offense is clicking and taking care of the ball.
After Friday night, the Marauders now know what it's like to be on the other end of the spectrum.
Bishop McCort capitalized on excellent field position and five Bishop Guilfoyle turnovers as the Crushers blasted the Marauders, 37-0, at Point Stadium.
The loss snapped Guilfoyle's six-game winning streak.
"I think we learned that you can't have [five] turnovers in a game," said Bishop Guilfoyle coach Justin Wheeler, whose team committed only three turnovers in eight games this season. "We've done a good job all year of taking care of the ball. Tonight, we just didn't do that. Against a team as good as they are and as well-coached as they are - they capitalize on mistakes."
Bishop Guilfoyle quarterback Pat Irwin was picked off three times, while Damon Rickens threw one interception. And to top that off, Bishop McCort's Nathan Thompson had a 67-yard fumble return when the Marauders' second-team offense put the ball on the turf late in the fourth quarter.
Field position was huge, too.
Bishop Guilfoyle (7-2) never saw the McCort side of the field through three quarters.
EJ Madey got the Marauders barely across the 50 on an end-around kickoff return to open the fourth quarter, but the offense got no where and Irwin threw his third interception.
The only two times the offense drove into Crusher territory happened in the last 3:19 of the game with the second- and third-stringers. Dakota Leamer, Anders Schill and Aaron Yasiliutis combined for 63 of Bishop Guilfoyle's 152 total yards in that stretch.
And almost everything - including the turnovers - stems back to the play of the Bishop McCort defensive line.
"They're definitely a quality defensive line," Wheeler said. "We talked about it all week. We thought those guys were pretty good up front. They've got some size, they've got some speed. That makes it difficult."
"Our defensive front is just so strong and it showed again tonight," Bishop McCort coach Kevin Sheridan said. "That may have been one of their best performances."
The win was pivotal for the Crushers (6-3), who were on the playoff bubble entering Friday night. They host 2-7 Central Cambria next week.
"It was a big win against a very strong team," Sheridan said. "I don't know where the points will fall or where we'll fit in the standings, but it's still, for us, a matter of just getting better each week."
"We just knew coming into this that this was a huge night," said Crushers senior Jordan Spangler, who had six receptions for 118 yards, a 34-yard TD reception, a 32-yard pick-six, a 23-yard field goal and kicked three extra points. "We needed to do this to get into the playoffs. We needed the win. Everyone gave it their all and left it out on the field."
Bishop McCort started its rout in the second quarter when it was able to rattle Bishop Guilfoyle punter Nick Little with significant pressure.
Little had three punts travel 18 yards or less, and on two, the Crushers were able to score on two and three plays, respectively.
Spangler returned his interception for a score to give McCort a surprising 21-0 lead at halftime.
"Our guys played very well tonight. I'm proud of our effort," Sheridan said. "Our approach to the game was the right approach. The guys knew how much [this game] mattered. There was an urgency there."
Despite getting blown out, Bishop Guilfoyle still sits in a relatively good position in the district rankings. The Marauders will look to rebound next week at winless United as they tune up for the District 6 playoffs.
"The goals that we set at the beginning of the year are still there," Wheeler said. "We have one more week and then we're going to be in the playoffs. Our goals were to get into the playoffs and make a run for a District 6 championship. Those goals are still there."
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bishop Guilfoyle0 0 0 0 - 0
Bishop McCort0 21 0 16 - 37
BM-Belskey 10 run (Spangler kick), 9:02.
BM-Spangler 34 pass from Tomkowski (Spangler kick), 6:02.
BM-Spangler 32 interception return (Spangler kick), 4:32.
BM-Spangler 23 FG, 11:44.
BM-Jackson 8 run (kick failed), 8:21.
BM-Thompson 67 fumble return (Pastorek kick), 1:27.
RUSHING: Bishop Guilfoyle-Leamer 4-24, Schill 2-22, Rossman 10-17, Yasiliutis 1-17, McCloskey 5-14, Irwin 12-12, Rossman 10-(-2). Bishop McCort-Jackson 22-59, Tomkowski 7-25, Belskey 4-15, James 1-7, Spangler 1-2.
PASSING: Bishop Guilfoyle-Irwin 6-18-3-48, Rickens 0-3-1-0, Hagg 0-0-0-0. Bishop McCort-Tomkowski 8-15-0-144.
RECEIVING: Bishop Guilfoyle-Rickens 4-33, Nardelli 2-15. Bishop McCort-Spangler 6-118, Rugg 1-22, James 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS: Bishop McCort-Spangler, DiFrancesco 2, Rugg.