WEST CATHOLIC 34, NEUMANN-GORETTI 9
One by one, Neumann-Goretti's coaches walked over and graciously congratulated Greg White outside West Catholic's locker room.
Able to momentarily put aside a lopsided defeat, C.J. Szydlik and his staff recognized White's efforts while leading the Burrs past the Saints, 34-9, Saturday afternoon in the Catholic League Class AA championship game at Southern.
White, a 5-foot-8, 190-pound senior, carried 20 times for 172 yards and four touchdowns. He scored on runs of 1, 5, 49, and 30 yards.
Had it not been for a holding penalty that wiped out his 87-yard jaunt early in the second quarter, the speedy tailback would have ended with 200-plus rushing yards and five scores.
"You have to play through something like that," said White, who is being recruited by Buffalo, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Towson. "You can't go back to the last play."
In beating N-G for the second time this season, West captured its eighth consecutive Catholic League title. It was the squad's 12th straight appearance in the league final.
Afterward, there was little celebration on the part of the West players. That's probably because they are eyeing a possible PIAA District 1-12 Class AA subregional playoff rematch versus top-ranked Imhotep Charter (9-1).
That could come in two weeks, if the Burrs are able to knock off District 1's New Hope-Solebury (8-1) in a semifinal contest next weekend at a site and time to be determined.
"We talk about playing Imhotep from time to time, but we have to go week to week," said White, a 2,800-yard career rusher. "When we get to them, we get to them."
West (8-2) grabbed an immediate lead on the Saints, as Ahkil Crumpton returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a score.
After the Saints (5-4) responded with Jamal Custis' 6-yard TD grab, Crumpton's 28-yard reception helped paved the way for White's 1-yard score. His second tally, a 5-yard dash just before the break, made it 22-7.
One of the interesting subplots was the duel between Custis, a 6-6 wideout bound for Syracuse, and West's Patrick Amara, a 6-2 cornerback and Pittsburgh commit. Amrara held Custis to that one catch, on a right-side slant.
"Since he's a physical player, you have to be physical right back," Amara said. "I tried to get right up on him, mess up his route as much as I could."
West's defense, which limited N-G to 23 rushing yards on 26 attempts, also featured end Romeo Gunt (13 tackles) and inside linebacker Amir Postley (10). End Jalil Branch (seven) had two of the team's four sacks.
The Saints, who will close their season against Southern on Thanksgiving Day, completed only 5 of 35 passing attempts.
Neumann-Goretti 7 0 0 2-9
West Catholic 14 8 6 6-34
WC: Ahkil Crumpton 94 kickoff return (run failed)
NG: Jamal Custis 6 pass from Ray Lenhart (Michael Beck kick)
WC: Greg White 1 run (Crumpton run)
WC: White 5 run (White run)
WC: White 49 run (pass failed)
NG: Safety, sack in end zone
WC: White 30 run (pass failed)