The Cathedral Prep football team is heading back to Hershey for a second straight year for another chance to win a state championship. The opportunity was earned after a 28-14 win over Berks Catholic in Somerset, Pa., on Friday. It was a classic December football game played in cold, damp conditions. The Ramblers got off to a terrific start after recovering a fumble on the first play from scrimmage. They then converted the turnover into a quick touchdown courtesy of junior running back Matt Lupo. This got the Prep cheering section and the rest of the Rambler fans into the game right from the start.
Berks Catholic responded immediately by driving down the field and scoring a touchdown on their second possession of the game. This was in large part due to receiving an automatic first down after a roughing the punter penalty was called on Prep. The Ramblers regained their composure and continued to battle despite some suspect officiating in the first half. They got some huge stops on defense and were able to retake the leader in the second quarter via a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Mischler to wide receiver Tyler Oedekoven, who became the first Prep wideout to ever eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark in a single season.
Prep’s defense continued to make big plays despite Berks Catholic’s offense having some success on the ground. Head Coach Mike Mischler was proud of defense as they bent but did not break. The Ramblers were able to force a fumble, which led to another Matt Lupo touchdown to give Prep a 21-7 lead going into halftime. Lupo had 98 rushing yards on 19 carries to go along with his two scores. Berks Catholic came out with some nice drives in the third quarter, but they were once again unable to put points on the board due to Prep’s suffocating defensive front.
In the fourth quarter, the Ramblers were able to extend their lead after a 76-yard TD reception by Oedekoven. He finished the game with 7 catches for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns. The touchdown pass was precisely thrown by Joe Mischler, who battled through an injury in the beginning of the game to throw for 204 yards on just 20 pass attempts. He also used his legs to scramble for 60 yards on 4 rushing attempts. Prep hung on late to win pretty handily despite a late touchdown by Berks Catholic.
The scoreboard hit all zeroes and the Ramblers celebrated as they realized that they were headed back to Hershey after defeating Berks Catholic 28-14.
The Ramblers will face a familiar opponent in Imhotep Charter on Thursday night in Hershey, Pa. They fell to the Panthers in last season’s championship game by 37 points and look to get their revenge this year.
Senior wide receiver Trey Deitrick shared his thoughts about the big game. “We are playing against a very good team so we need to minimize our mistakes. We have worked hard to get to this point and want to make sure we finish the season with a bang. We are hungry for a win.”
Make sure to get to Hershey to support the football team, who has a chance to cap of this magical season with a state championship victory.