Conwell-Egan junior Terome Mitchell has grown accustomed to following the lead of Eagles stud running back Patrick Garwo.
Friday night at Truman High, however, it was Mitchell who led the way in an important sequence just before halftime in the Eagles 44-20 3A first-round playoff victory against Lansdale Catholic.
"This was very important because they beat us is the regular season," Mitchell said. "We practiced hard to get our revenge, and we loved it!"
On a chilly night in front of a lively crowd, the game's momentum shifted after the Crusaders capitalized on a Garwo fumble near the Lansdale Catholic 24-yard line.
A Mike Dutkiewicz to Jake Doheny 5-yard score gave the Crusaders a 7-6 edge with 15 seconds left in the half.
That is until Mitchell returned the ensuing kickoff 78 yards for a score.
"In my mind, I said, I gotta score, somehow, someway to put us back on top," he said. "I just follow Pat wherever he leads me, and I took off and scored."
Garwo, who finished with 196 yards and three scores on 28 carries, is Mitchell's lead blocker on kickoff returns.
On the ensuing 2-point conversion, Mitchell bobbled then dropped a handoff from Garwo on an attempted reverse. Undaunted, Mitchell scooped the ball, reversed course and scored.
He also recovered the ensuing kickoff after a Lansdale Catholic returner dropped the ball.
"We just put our heart into it," he said. "Coach (Jack Techtman) tells us to go down and hit hard every time. If we do that, we get the ball and make plays."
The Eagles also blocked a punt by Dajuan Harris that resulted in a safety and recovered another kickoff that was muffed by the Crusaders.
Mitchell finished with 150 yards on four kickoffs. He also added 36 yards on 10 carries for the Eagles (6-6).
Alex Goldsby added 64 yards and two scores on 14 carries for the Eagles, who play the winner of Saturday's Palisades-Lehighton matchup.
For the Crusaders (5-7), Danny Dutkiewicz led the way with 130 yards on 19 carries. Matt Casee added 63 yards and two touchdowns.
Conwell-Egan 0 14 16 14 44
Lansdale Cath. 0 7 6 7 20