Lancaster Catholic Claims Second PIAA Class AA Title on A-Turf

Pushed to the limit by pesky District 4 Tryone Saturday afternoon, Lancaster Catholic rode its superior talent to the second PIAA Class AA championship in school history.

Junior running back Roman Clay bulled through the Golden Eagles for 154 yards and one touchdown as the Crusaders became the first Lancaster County school to win two state titles with a 17-7 victory over the Eagles at Hersheypark Stadium.

“It was tough out there. We just kept fighting. It’s a long season, and we worked hard for this. It feels great to be a two-time state champion,” said Clay, who rolled to his 154 yards on 25 carries and was a freshman when LC won its initial PIAA title in 2009.

“I think I did my job today.”

Clay had 99 of his yards on 15 carries in the second half when frisky Tyrone (14-2) refused to let Lancaster Catholic (16-0) pull away.

“We’ve seen some good running backs this year. I don’t know if we’ve seen one as good as him,” Tyrone coach John Franco said of Clay. “He’s a big kid who runs hard. I don’t know if he ever went down on the first hit. And that hurt us.”

What also hurt the Golden Eagles was a case of the drops. Senior QB Steve Franco came out firing, but a pair of drops by his wideouts well downfield on the first series hurt.

Tyrone finished with four dropped passes totaling 71 yards – and none bigger than Hayden Zook’s drop at the Crusaders’ 15-yard-line on fourth-and-7 late in the fourth quarter with LC clinging to a 10-7 lead./p
The Golden Eagles marched from their own 8-yard-line to the Crusaders’ 25 before stalling with 4:23 to play.

“We were trying to run with the ball before we made the catch. Those dropped passes on the first drive hurt,” John Franco said. “And we had one on that last drive.”

Franco admitted this isn’t the most big or talented team he’s ever coached, but this group plays well together and keeps itself in games./p
Lancaster Catholic had several opportunities to garner some breathing room before scoring with 96 seconds left to ice it.

After going up 7-0 in the first quarter, the Crusaders pushed their way to the Tyrone 2 before QB Andrew Dzurik, who finished with 121 yards passing and one touchdown, threw an interception at the goal line.

On Lancaster Catholic’s initial drive of the second half, a marathon 14-play march that ate up more than half of the third quarter, the Crusaders had a touchdown run by Brandon Hollister called back for holding. Eventually LC had to settle for a field goal to go up 10-0./p
The Crusaders finished with 10 penalties for 92 yards.

“This is hard to describe. When you’re a little kid you dream about winning a state title and going 16-0,” said Hollister, who rushed for 53 yards and notched a team-high seven tackles. “This was a tough team and we made some mistakes. They pushed us. We just had to plow through and keep working hard.”

Immediately after falling behind 10-0 in the third quarter, Tyrone rolled 62 yards in seven plays to stay in the hunt when Christian Getz capped the 2:26 drive with a 4-yard touchdown run.

“I think we battled them tooth and nail. From everything we read in Lancaster this was going to be over by halftime,” John Franco said. “The effort was incredible. I got a lot out of them.”

Despite being outgained 326-161 overall, the Golden Eagles put themselves in position to take the lead with time winding down.

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