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Heading to Hershey: Marauders hold on at end to reach another state final

Photo for the Mirror by Ed Lee BG players (left to right) Adrian Johnson, Cameron Maloney and Andrew Yanoshak celebrate the victory after the final play of the game Friday afternoon.

DANVILLE — Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic held off three passes into the end zone from the Marauder 12-yard line, and Adrian Johnson sacked Nico Berrios on the final play just before the field was showered in Hershey Kisses in an 11-7 victory over Lackawanna Trail in the PIAA Class 1A semifinals Friday at Ironmen Stadium.

Deven Wyandt kicked the go-ahead field goal early in the fourth quarter, and Johnson and Zach McCloskey sacked Berrios in the end zone for a safety with just more than three minutes to play to set the final score.

The Marauders will play Farrell on Thursday in Hershey for the state championship.

Play of the game: With 33.8 seconds left in the third quarter and Lackawanna Trail clinging to a 7-6 lead, Zach McCloskey stripped Lions fullback Ray Melnikoff for a turnover at the BG 39-yard line. On the next play, Keegan Myrick broke a pair of tackles at the line of scrimmage and ran 52 yards to set up Wyandt’s go-ahead field goal.

Player of the game: Myrick scored the Marauders’ lone touchdown, rushed for 100 yards, caught three passes for 58 yards and had two interceptions.

Unsung hero: Bishop Guilfoyle quarterback Konner Kiesewetter threw for 121 yards, 92 on BG’s only touchdown drive late in the second quarter.

Most vital statistic: Bishop Guilfoyle won the turnover battle, 3-0.

Most deceiving statistic: Lackawanna Trail had 15 first downs to BG’s eight.

Close call: Just after Bishop Guilfoyle took the lead in the fourth quarter, Kiesewetter attempted a pass on third-and-7 from the Lackawanna Trail 47-yard line. The Lions’ Miguel Ella stepped in front of the pass and had a clear path to the end zone, but he dropped the ball.

Missed chance: Myrick couldn’t hold on to a pass that hit him in the hands on third-and-9 from the Lackawanna Trail 24 on the Marauders’ first possession that would have been good for a first down. He was hit by a Lions defender just as the ball hit his hands. BG turned it over on downs on the next play.

Bishop Guilfoyle coach Justin Wheeler: “Zach McCloskey over the last four or five weeks has been as good as anyone we’ve had. He made huge plays for us against Saltsburg, Juniata Valley and today. That strip, on one of the best running backs in the state, was huge.”

McCloskey: “I was one of the first guys up there, and the way I tackled him, my hands just went right onto the ball. I just ripped it out while the rest of my teammates held him up. We were so excited. We got the momentum there, and I think that’s one of the plays that helped us win the game.”

Lackawanna Trail coach Steve Jervis: “Hat’s off to Bishop Guilfoyle. I wish them the best on Thursday. I can’t say enough about the character of our football team. We played a very good team today. We had our backs against the wall, we were able to drive the length of the field to give ourselves a chance, and that’s all you can ask for.”

Notable: This is Bishop Guilfoyle’s fourth trip to the PIAA finals in the past six years. … The Marauders are now 9-0 in playoff games outside of District 6 under Wheeler. … Of the three pass attempts Lackawanna Trail got off at the end of the game, the closest it came to scoring was on third down. Jeffrey Resto found himself wide open in the corner of the end zone, and Berrios fired the ball in his direction. The ball was slightly behind Resto, causing him to come back a step or two toward the middle of the field. BG’s A.J. Kilmartin made a great recovery on the ball and broke up the pass with 2.4 seconds left.

Records: Bishop Guilfoyle (12-2); Lackawanna Trail (10-4)

Next week: Bishop Guilfoyle will play the winner of Clairton-Farrell in the PIAA Class 1A championship on Thursday in Hershey at 1 p.m. Lackawanna Trail’s season is complete.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Lackawanna Trail 7 0 0 0 — 7

Bishop Guilfoyle 0 6 0 5 — 11

First Quarter

LT–Melnikoff 5 run (Melnikoff kick), 1:59

Second Quarter

BG–Myrick 1 run (conversion failed), 0:00

Fourth Quarter

BG–Wyandt 20 FG, 10:24

BG–Berrios sacked by McCloskey, Johnson in end zone for safety, 3:05

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TEAM STATISTICS LT BG

First downs 15 8

Total yards 177 247

Rushes-yards 39-136 31-126

Yards passing 41 121

Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 9-19-2 7-15-0

Punts-avg. 3-31.3 5-29.8

Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0

Penalties-yards 4-26 5-40

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Lackawanna Trail, Melnikoff 19-101, Berrios 12-15, Resto 5-14, Cresswell 3-6. Bishop Guilfoyle, Myrick 22-100, McCloskey 4-22, Kon. Kiesewetter 4-5, Rother 1-(-1).

PASSING–Lackawanna Trail, Berrios 9-18-2-41, TEAM 0-1-0-0. Bishop Guilfoyle, Kon. Kiesewetter 7-15-0-121.

RECEIVING–Lackawanna Trail, Ella 3-27, Cresswell 1-9, Resto 1-5, Wallace 1-5, Melnikoff 3-(-5). Bishop Guilfoyle, Myrick 3-58, Negola 1-29, Fox 1-19, Yanoshak 1-8, Homan 1-7.

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