DOWNINGTOWN >> When one thinks of Bishop Shanahan football, one thinks of a wide open passing attack with many variations and, at times, five or six receivers spread wide.
After Friday night’s 28-10 win over West Chester East at Jack Mancini Field, you can add power football to the undefeated Eagles’ arsenal. Bishop Shanahan rushed for 382 yards as its offensive line led the way against the winless Vikings in the Ches-Mont League National Division opener for both squads.
Dan DiBeneditto, the Shanahan quarterback rushed for 119 yards on 15 carries and junior Connor Whalen totaled 159 yards on 25 carries. The Eagles (1-0 Ches-Mont, 4-0 overall) had the football for 15 minutes in the second half as the Vikings ran only three offensive plays in the third period. Bishop Shanahan rushed the ball for an impressive 382 yards.
“We feel we can both throw and run the football,” DiBeneditto said. “Our offensive line really got after it tonight. We saw on film that we could run the football and now we go into the heart of our schedule and we are confident we can hang with any team in the league.”
The Vikings (0-1, 0-4) got on the board first by turning an early Shanahan fumble into a 33-yard field goal by Jesse Roth. But, the Eagles piled on 14 points in the second period with Whalen and DiBeneditto gashing the Vikings defense. The Eagles’ second touchdown came on a six-play, 70-yard drive, all running plays to make it 14-3, when Whalen busted in from nine yards out. This came four minutes after DiBeneditto found Steve Sweeney for a five-yard touchdown toss. and the Eagles started to assert their dominance in the game.
West Chester East was still without running back Jared Cooper, who missed his third straight game with a high ankle sprain. The Vikings managed just 109 yards of total offense as the Shanahan defense did its job of getting the ball back to the offense and letting Shanahan run some clock.
“We saw they only had five or six guys in the box so we felt we could run the football,” Bishop Shanahan head coach Paul Meyers said. “We are 4-0 and it wasn’t pretty at times tonight but Connor Whalen did a great job. I am glad he came back to football. he runs hard and never seems to get tired. We have to clean some things up but we will take being 4-0. We had way too many penalties tonight.”
Shanahan received the second half kickoff and chewed up eight-plus minutes of clock, going on a 15-play drive that stalled at the Vikings’ 14-yard line. The Eagles also used Andrew Smyth in the running attack, and after and an East three-and-out, the Eagles’ ground assault was at it again. Smyth took a handoff on the opening play of the fourth period and ran 26 yards to paydirt to make it a 21-3 game.
But, the Vikings did not give up. East went on an eight-play drive of its own and scored when on third down and six at the Shanahan eight yard line, Ryan Cassidy hit Roth in the back of the end zone to close the deficit to 21-10 with just over seven minutes to play in the fourth.
But the night belonged to the Eagles as they took the kickoff and marched down the field with all running plays and took six minutes, 23 seconds off the clock with DiBeneditto getting runs of 16 and 17 yards on the drive. The drive culminated in DiBeneditto going in from one yard out to make it a 28-10 final and the Eagles were still perfect on the season at 4-0.
“Our offensive line did a great job tonight,” Whalen said. “In the second half, they really started to play at them and I think they got tired. I like getting a lot of carries and running the ball every play.”