Cathedral Prep wins third straight PIAA football title

Billy Lucas’ record effort, Ramblers’ dominant defense lead the way in the Class 4A rout of Imhotep Charter. Replay the game at http://bit.ly/2Sw9McM

HERSHEY — Everyone in the stadium knew who the ball was going to throughout the game on Thursday.

Imhotep Charter still couldn’t stop him.

Billy Lucas set a PIAA Class 4A championship game record for carries and yards as he ran for 286 yards and three touchdowns on 40 carries to lead Cathedral Prep to a dominant 38-7 win over Imhotep as the Ramblers won their third-straight Class 4A state championship at Hersheypark Stadium.

“I just kept thinking to do my part and do my job,” Lucas said. “If coach wanted to give it to me 50 times, I had to be ready and do my best. This means a lot to us. It’s history. We’ll be talking about winning three-straight state championships 20-30 years from now.”

Cathedral Prep finished the season 13-3 and became the first team in District 10 history to win three-straight state championships. The Ramblers have five state titles overall, which is the most in D-10 history.

That championship feelingpic.twitter.com/uzx52o7U2x

— Tom Reisenweber (@ETNreisenweber)December 7, 2018

Prep set the tone early behind its impressive offensive line, including players like Jordan Covatto, Chris Oliver, Kawaun DeBoe, James Janicki and Trayshawn L’Amoureux along with fullback Mike Lupo. The Ramblers went 78 yards on five plays, all carries by Lucas, to take a 7-0 lead as he capped the drive with a 56-yard touchdown run.

Imhotep Charter tied the game on a 19-yard TD run by D’Shaun Seals to end a 99-yard drive, but the Prep offensive line continued to impose its will.

Regan Schleicher scored on a 15-yard touchdown run and Colin Kelly drilled a 30-yard field goal in the final minute as Prep led 17-7 at the half.

It was more of the same in the second half as Schleicher and Lucas continued to work together. Schleicher finished an 82-yard drive on 12 plays with a 3-yard touchdown run before Lucas scored two more times to put the game away.

“What Billy did in his career was unbelievable, and he’s done it while dealing with injuries. I don’t know what he would have done if he was fully healthy. Our offensive line did an amazing job behind coach Pat Czytuck, who has been doing it for 44 years. We dedicated the season to Jeff Bomba, and everyone did their part.”

While the Prep offense was sustaining drives, the defense shut down the Panthers (11-3).

Imhotep finished with 216 yards of offense as the Ramblers continued to live in the backfield. Prep recorded five sacks, including 1½ by Joey Scarabino, one each by Luke Kubiak and Lupo and a ½ sack by Luke Sittinger, Kareem Carson and Jaelen Carson.

“Our defensive line the past few weeks has been great,” Scarabino said. “You have to credit everyone on the defensive line. We have a great system in place, and we’ve been causing havoc on opposing offenses all year long.”

Kareem Carson, Sittinger and Scarabino had eight tackles apiece, while Ervin Williams and Lupo each had seven.

“Since the playoffs started, we’ve been taking our defense to another level,” Sittinger said. “We’ve kept teams out of the end zone, and we kept doing our thing. We did our keys the right way.”

Prep extended its PIAA playoff win streak to 13 games in a row, which is one of the longest streaks in PIAA history. The Ramblers pulled off winning another state title despite graduating one of the most successful senior classes in Erie history.

“This says a lot about our program, and that we do things the right way,” Mischler said. “I feel very proud and blessed. I don’t know what I’ve done to receive these blessings, but my staff and the players deserve this with all of the hard work we’ve put in this season.”

Replay the live game coverage at http://bit.ly/2Sw9McM

Tom Reisenweber can be reached at 870-1707 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNreisenweber.