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FOOTBALL: West Catholic's QB Zhaire Hart-Hawkins Throws 3 Touchdowns in Shutout Against McDevitt

10/08/2018, 2:15pm EDT
By James Williamson

PHILADELPHIA- In front of an energetic homecoming crowd, West Catholic pummeled Bishop McDevitt to the tune of a 41-0 victory. This was McDevitt's first league loss of the season.

The fans came out in droves to Widener University's Leslie C. Quick Jr. Stadium to help celebrate their school and football team. The Burrs knew they could not disappoint.

“It was a great crowd. I’m glad the alumni and the students all came out,” said West Catholic head coach, Brian Fluck. “That was the big thing with the kids, if you’re going to bring this type of crowd, you need to bring a championship performance.”

West Catholic did that and then some as they completely dominated Bishop McDevitt – a team who had only allowed 13 points over their last four games -- in every facet of the game. They made sure their fans went home entertained.

Scoring opened early in the second quarter. After a gorgeous West Catholic punt pinned McDevitt inside their own five-yard line, three consecutive pass attempts netted a total of negative three yards.

With McDevitt forced to punt out of the back of their own end zone, West Catholic sent the house and swarmed the punter, setting up the scoop and score for senior wide receiver Aaron Jenkins.

“As soon as I saw the ball in the air I was like, ‘oh yeah, that’s mine,’” said Jenkins.

West Catholic's Aaron Jenkins after scoring on a blocked punt.- Photo-by James Williamson for PSD

McDevitt’s offensive struggles continued on their next possession as they would be forced to punt again after another three and out. It would take just seven plays for West Catholic to work their way down the field and score on a four-yard pass from Burrs junior quarterback Zhaire Hart-Hawkins to  senior defensive end Damen Studstill. Hart-Hawkins finished the day 11-17 for 186 yards with three touchdowns. He did a tremendous job of spreading the ball around as eight different receivers recorded a reception in the game.

“I try to spread it as much as possible,” said Hart-Hawkins. “I try to get it to all my skill positions because I know they’re going to make a play if I get them in open field.”

WC junior QB Zhaire Hart-Hawkins talks about the win. Video interview by James Williamson for PSD.

Game highlights by James Williamson- Editor Austin Amepeloquio

West went for two after the Studstill score and decided to reach into their bag of tricks for homecoming. With Hart-Hawkins in the shotgun and a running back set to his right, he gave the ball to the back who then ran to his left. The back then pitched the ball to a wide receiver on an end around who then threw it back to Hart-Hawkins in the flat. The ball was thrown just a bit too far for the outstretched arms of Hart-Hawkins and the two-point attempt was no good, but it is always fun to see an impromptu Philly Special, or rather, an impromptu West C Special.

Following the failed two-point attempt, McDevitt would be forced to punt yet again. The Burrs opened the possession with a 42-yard catch and run by senior wide-receiver Seth Degree. With the ball on the 30-yard line, junior running back Hameem Carroll-Shaw caught a pass out of the backfield. As he broke up field, a linebacker tried to go low for the tackle, so Carroll-Shaw did what any other normal person would do and jumped clean over them. He then spun through another tackle and made his way into the end zone to score one of the most exciting touchdowns of the game.

Although a holding penalty would negate the play, the Burrs got the points back just five plays later on a 15-yard touchdown pass to Degree.

With less than two minutes left before half time, McDevitt put together their most successful drive of the game, thanks in large part to a number of defensive penalties on West Catholic. Despite coming within a yard of the end zone, the Lancers missed a field goal as time expired to go into the half down 20-0.

The Lancers would turn the ball over on consecutive possessions to open the second half, both leading to West Catholic touchdowns.

West Catholic vs. Bishop McDevitt  (photos by James Williamson for PSD)

“We couldn’t get going. We couldn’t move the ball on offense, we turned the ball over on special teams, you can’t win football games that way,” said Bishop McDevitt head coach, Mike Watkins. “They were just better than us today.”

Despite his three-touchdown performance and the huge win in front of his homecoming crowd, there was only one thing on the mind of Hart-Hawkins after the game.

“I take the SATs tomorrow, so I just want to go home and go to sleep,” said Hart-Hawkins.

West Catholic now turns their attention this Friday to an undefeated Conwell-Egan (4-0) team in a game with heavy PCL implications.

“The catholic league title is going to go through that game,” said Fluck.

“Whoever wins that is going to have the advantage.”

Meanwhile, McDevitt (3-1) will look to rebound as they host Lansdale Catholic (1-3) this Saturday.

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