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High School Sports

Seton-La Salle falls short in Class AA title quest

| Saturday, Dec. 7, 2002

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) -- Drew Letcavage has been making big plays on defense all year for Mount Carmel. The PIAA Class AA championship game was no different, only this time he took over on offense, as well.

The sophomore wide receiver and defensive back had a 63-yard touchdown catch and made an interception to put the game away as the Red Tornados defeated Seton-La Salle 18-13 on Saturday.

"Drew is a special player, and you're going to hear a lot more about Drew Letcavage in the future," Mount Carmel coach Mike Brennan said.

Seton-La Salle (14-1) came within 18-13 when Joe DelSardo made a 28-yard touchdown catch, reeling in the ball about 12 yards out and fighting off two defenders before diving into the end zone with 3:35 left. DelSardo had five catches for 97 yards on the drive.

But the Rebels couldn't get to the onside kick, and Mount Carmel (15-0) ran the clock down to 1:04 before giving up the ball on downs.

Seton-La Salle had one last chance, starting on their own 32-yard line. But Letcavage intercepted Anthony Doria's third-down pass, allowing the Red Tornados to run out the clock for the win.

"Once I caught that ball, I wasn't going to let it go," Letcavage said.

It was the fifth Class AA championship in nine years for Mount Carmel, which has won in every even-numbered year since 1994.

Letcavage finished with 137 yards of offense, rushing for 65 yards on 15 carries and catching two passes for 72 yards. On his touchdown pass, which made it 12-0 early in the third quarter, Letcavage came out of the backfield and found himself wide open, running untouched into the end zone.

"They bit on the post, and I ran a fold and it just opened up," Letcavage said.

Doria, pressured all day by Mount Carmel's blitzing defense, threw for 196 yards, completing 18 of 31 with two interceptions.

"He was getting hit hard, and they kept coming," Rebels coach Lou Cerro said. "But he stayed in there and tried to make plays. He's been like that all year. If you throw for almost 3,000 yards, you're doing something right."

Dave Brown gave Mount Carmel an 18-7 lead with a 3-yard touchdown run with 7:56 left in the game. The Red Tornados got the ball near midfield, and Brown had five carries on the drive.

"Dave Brown has been incredible all year," said quarterback Dave Shinskie, a four-year starter. "He's a big, fat back that can just run through the holes."

Shinskie completed 11-of-20 passes for 195 yards and two interceptions.

Doria scored the Rebels first touchdown on a 1-yard run, making it 12-7 late in the third quarter. Carmen Connolly set up the score with 56 all-purpose yards on the 75-yard drive.

The defenses controlled the first half, with Mount Carmel scoring the only touchdown on a 21-yard interception return. After pinning Seton-La Salle deep in its own territory, Tim Wargo intercepted a Doria pass and returned it untouched for a 6-0 lead. Dave Shinskie's pass on the 2-point conversion try fell short.

The Red Tornados had a chance to increase their lead early in the second, driving to the Seton-La Salle 11-yard line. But Shinskie was sacked on third down, and the fourth-down pass to Wargo was just inches short of the first down, giving Seton-La Salle the ball.

Getting the ball at their own 9, the Rebels put together a 12-play drive into Mount Carmel territory before being forced to punt.

Mount Carmel again drove deep into Rebel territory, getting a first down on the 7. But Seton-La Salle's defense held, and Matt Kufta's 21-yard field goal try fell short.

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