Bishop McCort cruises past Mount Union

JOHNSTOWN — By the time Bishop McCort quarterback Will Miller attempted a pass in the second quarter of Saturday’s District 6 Class 2A quarterfinal game against Mount Union, he didn’t need to. Miller already scampered into the end zone twice using his legs and the Crushers lived up to their nickname with a 21-0 lead over Mount Union.

But that’s what Miller is used to. Coming into this season, the sophomore never thought he would move from his running back position that he grew accustomed to over the years. That all changed this summer at the first day of offseason workouts.

“On the first day, our offensive coordinator came up to me and said we have a lot of work to do today,” said Miller. “I asked him what he meant and he said I was going to be the quarterback this year. I said I was up to the challenge.”

Bishop McCort was also up to the challenge of a Mount Union team that has been decimated with injuries on the offensive line this season, and it didn’t take long for that to be exposed. Miller’s first touchdown run of 52 yards came off a read option on the first offensive possession for the Crushers, en route to their 42-0 shutout win over Mount Union.

“Coming in and winning nine games with a sophomore quarterback; you don’t see that a whole lot,” said Bishop McCort coach Brian Basile. “With the way things got set up this year, he’s the guy and he’s come a long way, but he’s got a long way to go yet. We’re expecting big things from him in the future, so we’ll keep working him.”

Miller capped off the next Crushers possession with a two-yard run, and followed that up with a 22-yard run off another read option late in the second quarter, ensuring that the second half would be a running clock with McCort up 35-0 heading into the locker room at Point Stadium.

But it wasn’t just all of Miller’s work for the McCort offense. Carnell Andrews swapped in at quarterback at times as well, which led to a 20-yard touchdown run of his own in the second quarter. Andrews also tossed a pass on a successful two-point conversion off a gadget play later in the half.

“We’re just trying to switch it up so the other team doesn’t know what I’m going to do with the ball,” said Andrews, who had 111 yards off 28 carries. “I might hand it off or I might keep it.”

When an underclassman is at the helm of an intricate offense, it can be a crapshoot on how they will perform. But Miller has left no doubt in the mind of anything thanks to his maturity.

“He’s very athletic; he’s really smart,” said Andrews. “All of the seniors, we try to help him out as much as we can so he’s calm and ready to play.”

There are always challenges with learning a new position, and Miller said one of them was reading the defense. But with two scores off of read-option plays, Miller seems comfortable thanks to several games under his belt now.

“It’s just working on the footwork and working on the passing game,” Miller said. “The reads are definitely the hardest with our offense. If you don’t have a good read, someone is going to get hurt or lose a couple yards. It’s just a lot of work.”

Lost in the offensive prowess of Bishop McCort was its defense, which outside a score by Penn Cambria on the final play of the game last week, hasn’t allowed a point in 12-straight quarters. And with a showdown looming next week against a Westmont Hilltop team that loves to chew the clock with its old-school Wing-T offense, the defense could be the difference.

“We have to stay composed,” Miller said. “That’s probably going to be a chippy game. Just play our game. Keep the run game going, but if we have to pass, then we’ll pass. Everything needs to happen and we’ll be fine.”

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Mt. Union 0 0 0 0 — 0

Bishop McCort 14 21 7 0 — 42

First quarter

BM–Miller 52 run (Miller kick) 10:30

BM–Miller 4 run (Gephart kick) 5:56

Second quarter

BM–Miller 20 run (kick failed) 10:44

BM–Phillips 30 blocked punt return (Walters pass from C. Andrews) 5:34

BM–Miller 22 run (Gephart kick) 1:07

Third quarter

BM–Phillips 39 run (Gephart kick) 8:21

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Mt. Union–Martin 17-54, Posey 5-6, McMickens 2-4, Carbaugh 1-(-3). Bishop McCort–Miller 5-82, Walters 2-2, Phillips 3-61, C. Andrews 28-111, Meier 3-21, A. Andrews 2-10, Vamos 1-2, Gress 3-0, Malcom 2-9, Allison 1-(-2).

PASSING: Mt. Union–Posey 4-16-1-46, Carbaugh 0-1-0-0. Bishop McCort–Miller 3-7-0-39, Allison 1-1-0-21.

RECEIVING: Mt. Union–Carbaugh 2-14, Brenneman 2-32. Bishop McCort–Jeanjaquet 1-7, C. Andrews 2-24, Lichtenfels 1-21.

INTERCEPTIONS: Mt. Union–None. Bishop McCort–C. Andrews.

TEAM STATISTICS MU BM

First downs 4 12

Rushes-yards 25-57 34-296

Passing (comp. -att. -int.) 4-17-1 4-8-0

Yards passing 46 39

Total yards 103 335

Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1

Penalties-yards 1-5 3-15

Punts-avg. 5-27.6 1-22

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