Irish fans have seen quarterback James Dougherty work his aerial magic all season long. Delone Catholic had seen Dougherty on film from the Biglerville game last week, where he lit up the Canners' secondary like a mirror ball in a disco.
So when Dougherty completed 14-of-25 passes for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Delone, if there was any surprise it was that he didn't do more damage through the air.
What came as a bit of a surprise, though -- at least to the York Catholic coaching staff -- was how well Delone quarterback Brett Smith passed the ball, throwing for three first-half touchdowns to lead the Squires to an easier-than-the-score-looks 42-20 win.
"We wanted to shut down their running game," said York Catholic coach Eric Depew. "I thought we did, but they made big plays with the pass."
Smith's numbers were not as gaudy as Dougherty's. He only threw the ball nine times. But five of those were caught, three in the end zone.
After being forced to punt on its first possession of the game, Smith threw touchdown passes the next three times the Squires ( 6-1, 5-1 Div. III) got the ball, spotting his team to a quick 21-0 lead that gave Delone more than enough cushion to survive York Catholic's late comeback attempt.
"When they brought guys up to stop the run, Brett threw the ball well," said Delone coach Steve Wiles. "We got some big plays from our passing game.
From there the running game -- and the Squires defense -- took over.
A 31-yard touchdown run by Nick Braun, one of three scores for the junior running back on the night, gave Delone a 27-0 lead with just less than a minute to go in the first half. At that point, York Catholic had not even crossed midfield.
Dougherty finally got things going, taking York Catholic (2-5, 2-4 Div. III) 65 yards on five plays -- all passes -- to get the Irish on the board just before intermission, but it was too little, too late.
By then Delone had already rolled up 300 yards of offense. Running back Tyler Smith, who didn't even have a carry in the second half, had 101 rushing yards by the intermission, and his teammates had added 103 more.
York Catholic, on the other hand, managed only 46 net yards on offense prior to that late drive and finished the first half with a net loss of 10 yards on the ground.
"We controlled the line of scrimmage. Our defensive line did a great job," said Wiles.
Making matters even worse for York Catholic, Delone came out after the half and scored on its first two possessions of the third quarter, pushing the lead to 42-6, setting the game clock in perpetual motion under the mercy rule.
The Irish got a little traction in the fourth quarter, with Matthew Lehr scoring on a 49-yard run to cap a five-play, 63-yard drive that came all on the ground, with Lehr carrying the ball on four of the five plays.
They added another score with 5:11 left on a Dougherty to Christian Farah touchdown pass after recovering an onside kick.
But with the running clock, Delone was able to hold the ball the rest of the game to put it away.
Delone Catholic 6 21 15 0 -- 42
York Catholic 0 6 0 14 -- 20
DC -- Colby McMaster 15 pass from Brett Smith (kick failed) 2:16
DC -- Tyler Smith 18 pass from B. Smith (T. Smith pass from B. Smith) 9:21
DC -- Nick Braun 6 pass from B. Smith (B. Smith kick) 4:36
DC -- Braun 31 run (kick failed) :56
YC -- Patrick Montgomery 9 pass from James Dougherty (kick failed) :05
DC -- Luke Clabaugh 2 run (B. Smith kick), 7:42
DC -- Braun 2 run (Austin Noel pass from T. Smith) 1:57
YC -- Matthew Lehr 49 run (Montgomery pass from Dougherty), 10:33
YC -- Christian Farah 12 pass from Dougherty (pass failed), 5:11
-- DC -- YC
First downs -- 17 -- 10
Rushes-yards -- 43-320 -- 14-53
Passing -- 6-11-0 -- 14-25-0
Passing yards -- 97 -- 158
Total yards -- 417 -- 211
Punts -- 1-28 -- 5-33
Fumbles-lost -- 0-0 -- 0-0
Penalties-yards -- 5-30 -- 2-19
Rushing -- Delone Catholic, McMaster 11-80, Tyler Smith 5-101, Clabaugh 9-29, Brett Smith 3-9, Braun 7-61, Hayden Ball 2-31, Luke Renaker 5-25, Zach Smith 1-(-2); York Catholic, James Dougherty 4-(-21), Matthew Lehr 10-74.
Passing -- Delone Catholic, Brett Smith 5-9-0-90, Brett Collins 1-2-0-7; York Catholic, Dougherty 14-25-0-158 .
Receiving -- Delone Catholic, McMaster 2-31, Braun 1-6, T. Smith 1-18, Cooper Ayers 1-35, Brady Arentz 1-7; York Catholic, Patrick Montgomery 6-112, Joey Stover 5-32, Lehr 2-10, Christian Farah 2-31, Aaron O'Brien 1-3.