Lancaster Catholic and West Catholic each went into last night's PIAA Class AA state semifinal playoff with offensive statistics as gaudy as the lights on the Las Vegas strip.
The Crusaders, of District 3, arrived in Northeast Philadelphia averaging 40.3 points per game. They had totaled 5,649 yards on offense: 2,575 yards rushing and 3,074 passing.
The Burrs, even more electrifying, entered with a scoring average of 50.3 points. With a trio of 1,000-yard rushers, one of them a 1,000-yard passer, they had netted 704 points and smashed the old city record (584, by Archbishop Carroll) for points in a season.
In its second straight contest against a fellow offensive heavyweight, West Catholic again showed it had the superior power. Making full use of their dazzling speed, the Burrs notched a 37-14 victory at Northeast's Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium.
The Catholic League and District 12 juggernaut is one win shy of statewide glory. Next Saturday, 1 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium, Brian Fluck's squad will take on District 10's Wilmington (14-1) for the championship.
West Catholic (14-1) netted 394 rushing yards against Lancaster Catholic (13-2). As usual, the three-headed monster of quarterback Curtis Drake (10 carries for 187) and halfbacks Rob Hollomon (10 for 79) and Raymond Maples (eight for 112) wreaked havoc on an upset-minded playoff foe.
"It feels good," said Maples, whose 34-yard run set up a third-quarter touchdown. "We come out every week and do what we have to do. I can't even describe the feeling."
Drake, likely a wide receiver at Penn State, ran for three scores and threw for another. The 6-foot, 165-pounder scored on carries of 20 and 1 yards in the opening 13 minutes. Late in the second quarter, his shovel pass to Hollomon resulted in a 30-yard score.
Early in the fourth quarter, with West Catholic ahead by 30-14, Drake (4-for-7 passing, 34 yards) capped the scoring with a 92-yard jaunt. He made his way to the left sideline and outran defensive back Travis Jankowski to the end zone.
Hollomon's 11-yard TD run in the third quarter, his 41st score of the season, made it 30-14. The Crusaders had opened the second half with a 13-play, 74-yard TD drive.
Hollomon upped his season rushing total to a team-best 1,821 yards. Drake (1,528) and Maples (1,132) have enjoyed similar success.
The Burrs sacked junior quarterback Kyle Smith, a Division I-A prospect who completed 16 of 22 throws for 177 yards and a score, six times for a total loss of 44 yards. The Crusaders were limited to 57 rushing yards.
Lancaster Catholic 0 6 8 0 - 14
West Catholic 7 15 8 7 - 37
WC: Drake 20 run (Carroll kick)
WC: Drake 1 run (Carroll kick)
LC: Purvis 38 pass from Smith (kick blocked)
WC: R. Hollomon 30 pass from Drake (Colon pass from Davis)
LC: Berlucchi 5 run (Houser pass from Smith)
WC: R. Hollomon 11 run (R. Hollomon run)
WC: Drake 92 run (Carroll kick)