By Pat Leonard
For the Inquirer
When Lancaster Catholic kicker Geoffrey Arentz sailed an extra point wide and left West Catholic down only two, a hot Burrs offense had 56 seconds and two timeouts to put themselves in field goal range.
But West Catholic came up short Saturday in a nailbiter at Coatesville High, when a failed hook-and-lateral attempt on 4th-and-15 gave District 3 champion Lancaster Catholic a 23-21 victory in the PIAA Class AA state semifinal.
Second-half touchdown runs by Burrs quarterback Jarred Evans (five yards) and tailback Brandon Hollomon (49 yards) put West up 21-17 with 7:31 remaining. But the winning touchdown was a 9-yard pass from Crusaders quarterback Kyle Smith to wideout Kevin Cotchen with 1:01 to play.
Last year, the Burrs beat Lancaster Catholic in the semis, 37-14, at Northeast High School before losing to Wilmington Area in the state championship game.
This year, West Catholic advanced to the semifinal by shutting out District 2 champion Dunmore in the first round, 13-0, and beating District 11 titlist North Schuylkill, 19-14, in the state quarterfinals.
Saturday, Lancaster Catholic scored first on a 20-yard scramble by quarterback Kyle Smith, and West's offense started slowly, with two three-and-outs.
But the Burrs defense held the Crusaders to a 22-yard Geoffrey Arentz field goal led by senior defensive tackle Jake Zuzek, and with 6:49 remaining in the first half, West junior tight end/defensive end Jim Lynch became the Burrs' catalyst for a comeback.
He blocked a 39-yard Lancaster Catholic field goal attempt to hold the Crusaders' lead at 10-0. On offense, he caught a 13-yard pass from Evans for West's first first-down of the game.
Then five plays after the Burrs' biggest gain of the half – a 40-yard bomb from Evans to wideout Quran Kent on 3rd-and-17 from West's 40-yard line – Lynch caught a 10-yard touchdown pass to narrow Lancaster Catholic's lead to 10-7 with 31 seconds remaining in the half.
West carried the three-point deficit into the break when Lynch dropped Crusaders quarterback Tyler Smith to end the half as Lancaster Catholic looked for a desperation heave.
1 2 3 4 F
Lancaster Catholic 7 3 0 6 23
West Catholic 0 7 7 7 21
L: Kyle Smith 20 run (Geoffrey Arentz kick)
L: Arentz 22 FG
W: Jim Lynch 10 pass from Jarred Evans (Tim Carroll)
W: Evans 5 run (Carroll kick)
L: Jordan Stewart 2 run (Arentz kick)
W: Brandon Hollomon 49 run (Carroll kick)
L: Kevin Cotchen 9 pass from Smith (kick fail)