Bergen Catholic tops St. Joe's

Pat PJR Rice, NJ Gridiron Guru
NJ Varsity
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Brian Carr

The Game At A Glance: After spotting St. Joe’s a 9-0 lead, Bergen Catholic, led by its offensive line, took control and went on to a 41-30 victory over St. Joe’s (Montvale). The Crusaders scored on six consecutive drives, going from the first through third quarter; all told they scored points on seven of their nine drives.

First Half: Bergen Catholic’s first possession ended when a high punt snap caused punter Ronnie Vergona to be tackled in the end zone by Elijuwan Mack for a safety. The Green Knights followed up with a drive of thirteen plays, consuming 6:28, and picking up five first downs, the last when Nick Patti found Yasir Berry for a 4-yard touchdown and a 9-0 lead. BC came right back when Johnny Langan found Dylan Classi for a 32-yard score, when Langan double pumped faked with good protection. It was the second completion between the two on the drive, with the other being a 35-yard pass.

Joe’s answered when Patti found a wide open Isaiah Hopkinson in the flat, who raced 84-yards for the score for a 16-7 lead. Bergen’s offense was finding their groove when they came right back and scored on another Langan to Classi pass, this time a 10-yard screen pass. After forcing a Joe’s punt, BC went in front for the first time on a 32-yard field goal by Michael Kearney. The Crusaders forced another punt and extended the lead when Josh McKenzie broke through the line for a 23-yard touchdown with 33 seconds left in the half.

Second Half: Joe’s came out with the ball and scored when Hopkinson went four yards on a stretch play to make it 24-23. Patti set things up on passes of 25 yards to Berry and two passes to Matthew Alaimo of 11 and 24 yards. Bergen came right back down the field on eleven plays, all runs, with McKenzie scoring from two yards out. The Crusaders scored on their next drive, another where no passes were thrown, this time an 18-yard run by Rahmir Johnson, making it 38-23 late in the third.

Joe’s cut it to 38-30 when Patti found Berry for three yards to the left pylon. Bergen BC drove for five minutes and added another Kearney field goal, this one from 35 yards.

Play Of The Game: The 23-yard touchdown by McKenzie gave Bergen breathing room just before the half, especially when Joe’s came out with the ball in the third quarter and scored.

Game Balls: The Bergen Catholic offensive line of center Sean Twomey, guards Zaakir Faith and JR Woods, plus tackles Bryan Felter and Kevin Kenerson controlled the line of scrimmage. The Crusaders rushed for 270 yards, gave Langan time to throw, and went the entire third period without throwing a pass, while attempting only two in the fourth quarter.

McKenzie ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries; Johnson had 92 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Langan was 8 for 12 and 127 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 71 yards. Dylan Classi caught four passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns.

Quotes:

Bergen Catholic Head Coach Nunzio Campanile: “Our line was great today: they were real physical, they executed, made no mental mistakes, and kept the quarterback clean. We found our identity last week in the fourth quarter, with five or six kids controlling the line of scrimmage.”

Bergen Catholic running back Rahmir Johnson - “There has been a big-time improvement from our offensive line. They are more confident, playing well with composure, playing great, and playing more aggressive. For me, I just get yardage and score.”

Bergen Catholic center Sean Twomey - “Our line started back to basics, working on our feet and hands.”

Note: It was at that point when my recorder wasn’t working properly and no sound came out of the tape, unable to write further responses from Twomey, McKenzie, and Langan. It is all my fault and I regret it.

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