DREXEL HILL, PA –There is no greater tragedy in the world of football than an injured starting quarterback. The only thing worse is when a starting quarterback injures themselves on the opening possession of a game.
Such was the fate of Bishop McDevitt junior quarterback Lonnie Rice, who found himself with a bum ankle after the first play from scrimmage. Despite the injury, the Lancers were able to rally behind an electric Jovan Hinton and a stout defense in their 17-0 victory over Bonner-Prendergast. This is McDevitt’s second straight Catholic League victory and its first PCL shutout since 2009, as noted by Tedsilary.com.
The Lancers seriously averted disaster in this crucial victory.
“We needed that win in Catholic League play. We don’t have an easy game on our schedule,” said Bishop McDevitt head coach, Mike Watkins. “We had to make some adjustments a little bit early, Lonnie Rice got a little dinged up, so we had to turn to Jovan Hinton, who we have all the confidence in the world in. We’ve gotten in a lot of work with him over the summer, he’s been ready to go, and we always felt comfortable. We made some adjustments, but we always stuck to the game plan and what we like to do.”
Hinton came ready to play and responded to Rice’s injury by driving his team 74-yards down the field on his opening possession. Although he could not find the end zone, Hinton still managed to set his team up with a 3-0 lead after a successful field goal.
McDevitt’s offense ran so smoothly the rest of the way, that, if one did not know any better, someone could have assumed Hinton was the starting quarterback in the first place. He managed to finish the day with about 95-yards and a touchdown on eight of 15 passing as well as about another 90 plus yards rushing and a touchdown on 18 carries. Hinton also managed to record a couple highlight reel plays, including a Houdini routine where he turned a near-sack into 27-yard scamper that put his team on the one-yard line and set up the game sealing score. The play looked very reminiscent of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz on Monday Night football.
“In the second half, (my knee) got a little better,” said Rice. “I was stretching it and I got more versatile with it. It was more mobile, but I saw Jo was hot, so I just let him stay in the game and get more reps because he was hot. He had the ball rolling today. It’s wonderful to know that your team has got your back when your down.”
Despite all of Hinton’s razzle dazzle, his defense only needed the first three points to secure the win as McDevitt completely shutout Bonner-Prendie’s offense, forcing them to punt on six of their seven possessions. The closest the Friars would come to scoring was early in the fourth quarter. After starting on their own 19-yard-line, Bonner-Prendie managed to move the ball within McDevitt’s 40-yard-line before their drive came to a halting stop on an interception from Akrie Lilley.
“I mean it’s incredible, we lean on (our defense). We’ve always leaned on them. McDevitt has always been known for what we can do on that side of the ball, and we play offense like the way our defense plays,” said Watkins. “We’re proud of those guys, but that’s what we expect out of them.”
Hinton was ecstatic about the win and the opportunity to get some reps at quarterback.
“(The win) feels great. I finally got my opportunity. I started on the defense, but I’m the backup quarterback so I had to go in,” said Hinton. “I finally got my shot and I think I did great, but I’m gonna stay humble. Keep walking on and stay humble.”
Looking back on the game, if Hinton could change one thing, it would be helping more of his teammates reach the end zone.
“I was really trying to get the passing game open. I was trying to get my wide receivers to eat too. I’m trying to feed the ball to everybody,” said Hinton. “I kept telling my guys, ‘I want my running back to score, I want my receivers to score, I want everyone to score.’ I even want my center to score if he can. I’m trying to get a ball to everybody, not just me.”
After the game, Hinton said that he had gained 25 pounds in the offseason from hitting the weight room. It seems like he needed every ounce of those 25 pounds to help carry the Lancers to victory.
Up next, Bishop McDevitt will have a difficult match-up on Saturday at home against Neumann-Goretti (Game played at Springfield-Montco). Senior quarterback Lonnie Rice is expected to take the field. Meanwhile, Bonner-Prendie will be traveling to Lansdale Catholic looking to rebound after their loss at home (Game played at Wissahickon HS).