By BILL RUDICK
DOWNINGTOWN — Bishop Shanahan football coach Paul Myers wasn’t too sure about what kind of team he had on his hands. Hit hard by graduation, then further decimated by some internal turmoil, the Eagles have a very young team, and had the disadvantage of starting the season a week later than the rest of the area teams.
Turns out Myers’ squad was able to limit the youhful mistakes and play a pretty solid game as the Eagles soared to a 33-14 nonleague victory over visiting Octorara (0-2) on Saturday.
“We really had no clue what kind of team we had,” said Myers. “And it’s tough to play against a team that’s already played a game and gotten those first week jitters out of the way.”
If anyone might have been affected by the Week 1 jitters, it would have been Eagles running back Pat Corcoran, who was playing his first game following a very long layoff, having missed all of last season to a broken collarbone. But if there were any nerves, it didn’t show, as Corcoran led the Eagles rushing attack with 73 yards on 15 carries, and scored rushing and receiving touchdowns.
“Pat’s a great kid,” said Myers. “You saw what he can do when he’s on the field. If he stays healthy, he’ll be one of the top backs in the league the next two years.”
With the Eagles up 7-0 on a two-yard run from Braden Harper, Octorara got itself right back in the game when quarterback Alex Gooden turned a potential negative into a huge positive. The Braves botched the snap, and in the confusion battle for the loose ball, it wound up in Gooden’s hands. After breaking a couple of tackles near the line, Gooden was off to the races, covering 62 yards for the score.
Still 7-6 in the second, the Eagles gave themselves a little cushion with both of Corcoran’s scores. The first came on a two-yard plunge, the second on a 12-yard pass to the left rear corner of the end zone from quarterback Gavin Roselli and lifted Shanahan to a 21-7 lead at the break.
“It just felt awesome to be playing again,” said Corcoran. “Not just myself, either, but the whole team. We had great energy today.”
The Eagles added another TD, early in the third on a24-yard scoring strike from Roselli to Cody Smith. But the Braves weren’t ready to just fade into oblivion.
As the dark skies morphed into a torential downpour, the Braves went to work, mounting a 10-play, 64-yard drive, capped by a 12-yard scamper on a quarterback draw from Gooden. He led all rushers on the day with 122 yards on 12 carries to pace Octorara’s 201-yard ground attack.
“We ran the ball well today,” said Octorara coach Jed King. “They didn’t quit and played hard from start to finish. We had way too many penalties (13 for 105 yards), but it was a much better effort than last week. We played good defense in stretches, and overall, I think we made gains over last week.”
The drive might have cut the lead and brought the Braves to within two scores, but it also ate up a lot of clock. And the Eagles did the braves no favors on the ensuing drive.
Behind the offensive line manned by Ben Smith, Doug Costin, Nate Fullam, Jon Fastuca and Jon Weyland, Shanahan answered back with a lengthy drive of its own. While the Eagles didn’t find the end zone to cap it off, they did take a good eight minutes off the clock.
“That drive was a huge factor in winning this game,” said Myers. “And the o-line was fantastic all through it.”
Shanahan’s last score came when the Braves, backed up in their end, went to the air. Mike Smyth picked off a pass at the line of scrimmage and rumbled 15 yards for the score score.
“The blocking was great all day,” said Corcoran. “The line was giving me all the holes I needed. And it’s always good to start with a win.”
Bishop Shanahan 33, Octorara 14
Octorara 6 0 8 0--14
Bishop Shanahan 7 14 6 6--33
BS -- Harper 2 run (Johnson kick)
O -- Gooden 62 run (pass failed)
BS -- Corcoran 2 run (Johnson kick)
BS -- Corcoran 12 pass from Roselli (Johnson kick)
BS -- Smith 24 pass from Roselli (kick failed)
O -- Gooden 12 run (Cooper run)
BS--Smyth 15 interception return (run failed)
First downs 8 11
Yards rushing 201 133
Yards passing 25 106
Total yards 226 239
Passing 1-10-1 8-12-1
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties 13-105 4-25
Punts-Avg. 4-17.5 1-29.0
RUSHING - Octorara: Gooden 12-122 2TD; Devlin 7-38; Cooper 4-31; Norris 3-6; Rossiter 3-4. Bishop Shanahan: Corcoran 15-73 TD; Angelini 8-55; Harper 2-11 TD; Roselli 2-(-6).
PASSING - Octorara: Gooden 1-10-1, 25 yards. Bishop Shanahan: Roselli 8-12-1 106 yard 1TD.
RECEIVING - Octorara: Butler 1-25. Bishop Shanahan: Smith 2-38 TD, Corcoran 3-32 TD, Oakes 2-25, Harper 1-11.
SACKS - Octorara: None. Bishop Shanahan: Gormley.
INTERCEPTIONS - Octorara: Rossiter. Bishop Shanahan: Smyth.