As Bonner-Prendergast coach Jack Muldoon addressed his victorious Friars after Saturday afternoon’s 22-13 victory against Bishop McDevitt, the fourth-year coach turned to an assistant and asked for a statistic.
A second after the answer was relayed, Muldoon turned back to his squad.
“No 4,000 yards today, baby!” Muldoon said to his team, which had taken a knee near the end zone at Springfield (Montco) High.
The Friars response was joyous, but seemed tame given they had just stifled one of the Catholic League’s best offensive threats.
Perhaps fatigue, given the unseasonably warm temperature beneath a near-cloudless sky, dimmed the celebration.
Senior do-it-all Oscar Uduma, however, refused to let the conditions cause defeat.
“My team was depending on me,” he said. “My mom is working [hard]. I’m doing this for my loved ones. That’s all.”
Uduma’s late 1-yard touchdown run polished off a methodical, 20-play, 78-yard drive that the Friars (3-2, 1-1) used to play keep-away from McDevitt’s offense, which features quarterback Lonnie Rice, for all but 32.5 seconds of the fourth quarter.
Tough runs by Uduma during the drive accounted for three Friar first downs. He finished with 48 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
“If I had No. 9 on my team I’d want to have the ball in his hands,” Muldoon said.
When the game began, Rice, who wears No. 9, needed 184 all-purpose yards to eclipse 4,000 for his career.
The University of Buffalo commit finished with 131 passing yards and added 20 more rushing yards.
“We watched film during the week and coach told us," Uduma said, " 'he’s gonna get that 4,000 this season, but not on us.’ ”
A running back and receiver, Uduma, a 6-foot-2, 215-pounder, also plays on the defensive line. He also occasionally plays special teams.
For the Friars, junior defensive back Ayden Garnes added two interceptions in the the first half. The Friars defense also forced and recovered two first-half fumbles, which helped secure a 14-0 lead by intermission.
For Bonner-Prendergast, junior quarterback Kyle Lazer ran 55 yards for a score in the first half. Sophomore running back Mason Peterson added a 41-yard score.
In the second half, however, junior Joachim McElroy energized McDevitt (4-2, 2-1) with a 96-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff.
Rice also hit McElroy for a 12-yard score that got the Lancers within 14-13 late in the third quarter. The ensuing extra-point, however, was blocked by Bonner-Prendergast senior Dan Donohue.
To open the fourth quarter, Muldoon went to a single-wing offensive set that pounded the ball down the field.
It’s a set the Friars typically use in short-yardage situations or on 2-point conversions, he said.
“What we did today,” Muldoon said, “at some point, you’re just trying to break their spirit, and keep the ball away from maybe the best player in the league.”
The Friars final drive was helped by a defensive penalty on third-and-9 with 2 minutes, 37 seconds left that drew the ire of McDevitt coach Mike Watkins.
Uduma, who had hoop dreams before he joined the football team last season, helped the defense sack Rice during the Lancers last possession.
“I’m happy,” Uduma said of playing football. “The goal is to go to college for free. Any how, any way, I want to go.”
Bonner-Prendie 7 7 0 8 - 22
McDevitt 0 0 13 0 - 13
BP: Kyle Lazer 55 run. Lazer kick.
BP: Mason Peterson 41 run. Lazer kick.
MD: Joachim McElroy 96 kick return. Eric Wilson kick.
MD: McElroy 12 pass from Lonnie Rice. Kick blocked