The Ben Lippen Falcons scored 36 points in the third quarter to down the Cardinal Newman Cardinals 63-28 in a SCISA 4A tilt Friday, September 23.
“Hats off to Cardinal Newman. They are very well coached and have a lot of really good athletes,” Ben Lippen head coach Bennett Weigle said. “Perry (Orth) and Cory (Helms) do a great job offensively. We knew it was going to be a challenge, but we had our best week of practice. We’re coming off two losses. They were gut wrenching losses. Both were on the road. Now we had a chance to come back home, and it was our best week of practice. We were crisp. The kids were locked in and paid attention to detail and the little things we needed to do to win, and they executed.”
After forcing Cardinal Newman into a three-and-out to start the game, Ben Lippen started its first possession at its 36. A pair of 5-yard runs by Bryce Craft and an 8-yard pass from Dobson Ricks to Taevian Copney moved the ball to the Cardinal Newman 49. A 39-yard pass from Ricks to Ellis Jones set the Falcons up in the red zone. Later in the drive, Copney found the end zone from two yards out to give Ben Lippen a 7-0 lead with 6:54 left in the first quarter.
The Cardinals responded on their next drive, beginning at their 40. A.J. Reyes carried the load for Cardinal Newman with three rushes for 11 yards. Duncan Skehan then found Reyes for a 26-yard pass to put the Cardinals at the Ben Lippen 6. Skehan then connected with Logan Busenlehner for a 6-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 7-7 with 4:57 left in the first quarter.
The Falcons found an answer on their next drive, which began at their 35. A 4-yard run by Craft and a 5- yard pass from Ricks to Jake Treiber moved the ball to the 44. A penalty against Cardinal Newman put the ball at the Cardinals 39. A 1-yard run by Craft and a 10-yard run by Ricks set up a 28-yard touchdown pass from Ricks to Treiber to put Ben Lippen ahead 14-7 with 2:07 left in the first quarter.
The score held until late in the second quarter. Following a Jones interception, the Falcons set up shop at the Cardinal Newman 39. A pair of penalties moved the ball to the Ben Lippen 45. Craft broke into Cardinals territory with a 12-yard run. Two plays later, Ricks found Copney for a 19-yard gain. Craft broke free for a 7-yard gain, and a penalty against Cardinal Newman moved the ball to the 14. Craft busted out with a 9-yard gain. Then Ricks got the ball to the 1, before Copney gained the final yard for the touchdown. The extra point was no good, but Ben Lippen led 20-7 at halftime.
Then the flood gates opened for the Falcons in the third quarter beginning with a Coleman Davis kickoff return to the Cardinal Newman 27. Following a 3-yard loss by Ricks, Craft ran for five yards, and a Cardinal Newman penalty moved the ball to the 12. Craft ran for eight more yards, before Ricks finished the drive off with a 4-yard touchdown run. Copney added the two-point conversion as Ben Lippen’s lead grew to 28-7.
The Falcons recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to begin their next drive at the Cardinals 9. On the next play, Craft took the hand off and ran to the end zone for a touchdown extending the lead to 35-7.
Cardinal Newman found an answer on the next drive. Highlighted by a 25-yard pass and catch from Skehan to Nicholas Doctor, the Cardinals found the end zone with a 1-yard touchdown run by Skehan. The extra point shrunk the deficit to 35-14 with 6:39 left in the third quarter.
Ben Lippen halted any idea of a comeback with a pair of Craft touchdown runs, from 36 and 6 yards respectively, to widen their lead to 49-14 with 2:16 left in the quarter.
The Cardinals kept fighting. Skehan tossed a swing pass to Reyes who outran the Falcons’ defense for a 67-yard touchdown, to cut into the deficit 49-21 with a minute left in the quarter.
The momentum was short-lived as Blake Bost returned the kickoff back 80 yards for a touchdown as Ben Lippen led 56-21 at the end of the third quarter.
Cardinal Newman added a 1-yard Skehan touchdown run and Bost returned another kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to set the final score at 63-28.
“Coach Joey Lowe did a great job this week,” Weigle said of his offensive coordinator. “ We had a rough one last week. We kind of sputtered around in the first half against Porter-Gaud. Then we scored 22 points in seven minutes. We just carried that over. Coach Lowe had them ready to go tonight.”
Ricks completed 11-of-16 passes for 168 yards and one touchdown. Craft ran for 167 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Copney caught four passes for 64 yards. He also rushed for two touchdowns on three carries. Treiber had two catches for 32 yards and one touchdown. Bo Morris caught three passes for 32 yards.
While the Ben Lippen defense gave up 28 points; it also had four sacks, two interceptions, and 13 tackles for loss.
“Me being a defensive guy, 28 points is way too many points,” Weigle said. “The first half when the game was still in the balance, we did a great job. There were some calls in the second half I wish I could have back. We didn’t execute it all that well. We went through the motions in the fourth quarter, played a little lethargic. I told them they’ll pay for that on Monday. Overall, though, I’m proud of those guys.”
With the win, Ben Lippen improves to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in SCISA 4A. The Falcons will host New Hope Academy Thursday, September 29.
“This is a huge win,” Weigle said. “ We got Heathwood a couple of weeks ago. That was a big one. This one to go with that one, that’s two statement wins for our kids; they need that confidence. Coming off of back-to-back road losses that happened in the last minute of the game, it could have gone either way. I was worried about our kids this week. Coming back in, I didn’t know what the temperature of the room was going to be. They were ready to go to work. I’m very proud of them. They did a great job.”
For the Cardinals, Skehan completed 15-of-20 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for two touchdowns. Reyes rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries. He also had four receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown. Busenlehner caught four passes for 53 yards and one touchdown.
Cardinal Newman falls to 2-4 overall, 1-2 in the region. The Cardinals travel to John Paul II Wednesday, September 28.