Greensburg Central Catholic was hoping Bishop Canevin would be rusty because the highly touted Crusaders did not play a game or scrimmage last week.
The Crusaders were, especially early. But they recovered from the groggy start and a slew of penalties,
using a huge push up front and some GCC turnovers to collect a 26-6 nonconference victory Friday night at Centurion Stadium.
Bishop Canevin (1-0), the WPIAL runner-up last season in Class A, is ranked No. 2 in the WPIAL and state. The team won a WPIAL title in 2021.
Though the Crusaders had 100 yards in penalties, they piled up 595 yards of offense and looked to wear down the Centurions.
With time to throw thanks to the strong line play, junior quarterback Kole Olszewski tossed three first-half touchdown passes,
including two to senior Azjaun Marshall, who scored three TDs overall, as the Crusaders built a 20-0 lead.
“When we couldn’t find a game in time we decided not to play last week and rest our bodies,” Bishop Canevin coach Rich Johnson said.
“That is a mistake I won’t make again. Rusty is an understatement. This was our Week Zero game. You take a win any way you can get it, though.”
GCC (1-1) was unable to sustain drives and could not get its footing against the Crusaders’ linemen. Still, the lead never seemed insurmountable as the Centurions had continued chances.
“They beat us up front,” GCC first-year coach JT Thompson said. “I thought we matched up well with them skill-wise. You can’t make mistakes like we did against a good football team.”
After GCC missed an early field goal, the Crusaders went on a 10-play drive to open the scoring. Olszewski tossed a short touchdown pass to sophomore Daiveon Taylor, a Division I prospect.
Junior Ty Rozier blocked the extra point, and it was 6-0.
GCC senior quarterback Tyree Turner lost two fumbles — they were recovered by senior Ezekiel Swift and junior Braiden Sudor — with the second one leading to a score.
Olszewski connected with Marshall on a slant for a 26-yard touchdown. Marshall’s 2-point catch made it 14-0 late in the second quarter.
Another connection to Marshall — a 53-yard strike — increased the advantage to 20-0 just before the break.
Olszewski finished 11 of 21 for 180 yards with three TDs and three interceptions — by sophomore Samir Crosby, senior Pete Mazowiecki and freshman Luke Semelka.
GCC still trailed by 20 heading to the fourth, when Turner was dinged up while scrambling.
Crosby took over under center and engineered a scoring drive. He completed 4 of 5 passes — three to Landon Honick for 72 yards — then took off for a 12-yard touchdown.
The extra point was blocked, though, and GCC faced a 20-6 deficit with 10:20 to play in the fourth. Turner returned on the next defensive series and caught a pass later in the game.
Crosby was 5 of 9 for 119 yards and a late interception by Tyjer Clayton. “Samir gave us a spark,” Thompson said. “Tyree played his butt off. It was tough without the protection.
We needed to make more plays overall. We didn’t make enough.” Marshall scored on a 6-yard run to cap the scoring with 3:44 to play to make it 26-6.
While he didn’t get into the end zone, senior Marquis Carter ran for 150 yards for Bishop Canevin.
“Our line played very well, and Marzi ran hard,” Johnson said. “I thought our tight ends did a nice job, too. It’s Western Pennsylvania football, so you know you need to be balanced.”