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BC Outlasts Paramus Catholic 27-21 to Snap Two Game Slide

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Bergen Catholic Crusaders Head Coach Nunzio Campanile said after the game, “Our backs were against the wall and every week it’s going to be like that.” The Crusaders were riding a two game losing streak heading into their showdown with Big North United Conference foe Paramus Catholic Paladins who defeated Bergen Catholic soundly last year 44-7.

“We pride ourselves on being a tough team, resilient and keep fighting no matter what,” added Campanile. “I’m real proud of ways guys responded and found a way to win.”

The turning point of the contest came in the third quarter with the Paladins lining up for a field goal at the Crusaders 7-yard line. Linebacker Frankie Feaster blasted through the hole to block the kick as teammate Trevor Weingarten scooped the ball up and rumbled back down the right sideline for an 87-yard touchdown, putting Bergen Catholic up 21-7.

“We really work hard in the special teams game,” said Campanile. “We try to stress how important it is in this league and games.”

Feaster made another impact play stripping running back Ahmad Thomas of the ball on the ensuing possession by Paramus Catholic as defensive back Nick Palmer recovered the ball at the Paladins 35-yard line. However, on 3rd and goal at the 12, Bergen Catholic quarterback Jarrett Guarantano lofted a pass into the end zone that was picked off by DeJohn Rogers.

Paramus Catholic quickly capitalized on the miscue with quarterback Allan Walters launching a 29-yard strike to Donald Stewart as time expired in the 3rd quarter making it 21-14. The Crusaders wasted little time responding on their following drive. Guarantano completed a key 20-yard pass to Korab Idrizi. On a 3rd and 1 at the Paladins 17-yard line, Johnny Langan gained 5 yards for a 1st down. From there Ryan McCarthy bulldozed straight up the middle for the score but the extra point was blocked making it 27-14.

Taking over at its own 43-yard line after a short kickoff with 7:44 remaining in the game, the Paladins moved the ball downfield relatively easily as Walters connected on a 14-yard pass to Jalen Walters and 10-yard pass to Dante Small. On 1st and 10 from the 20, Walters slinged a 20-yard TD pass to Small cutting the lead down to 27-21.

Paramus Catholic attempted a squib kick but Crusaders wide receiver Andrew Vito recovered the ball at the 39-yard line with 4:56 left. Freshman sensation running back Josh McKenzie ripped off a 23-yard run moving the ball deep into Paladins territory but Guarantano ended up getting sacked on 4tth and 5 at the 22-yard line by Tyler Wipper.

The Paladins took over at their 35-yard line but Bergen Catholic’s defense forced Walters into 3 incomplete passes turning the ball over on downs. 3 consecutive running plays from McKenzie ran out the clock giving the Crusaders the victory. McKenzie rushes 10 times for 65 yards.

“Ryan played a great game and made a couple of good catches, Melvin played hard and at the end we leaned on Josh,” said Campanile. “Ryan punching that one in the end was huge.”

In the 1st quarter Guarantano delivered a 14-yard pass to Andrew Vito with 4:16 left. Early in the 2nd quarter, BC looking to add to its lead had 4th and 19 at the Paladins 21 but Corey Bolds sacked Guarantano. Paramus Catholic took over at its own 31 and 3 plays later Walter aired out a 58-yard TD bomb to Donald Stewart tying the game up at 7-7.

After a 12-yard punt by Paramus Catholic, Guarantano went to work rifling a 46-yard pass to Ryan McCarthy. On 3rd and 6 from the Paladins 12, Guarantano zipped a TD pass down the middle of the seam to Korab Idrizi. Despite being under intense pressure all game long and sacked 8 times, Guarantano completed 22 of 37 passes for 274 yards, 2 TD’s and 1 INT.  Paramus Catholic star defensive end Rashan Gary who is the number 1 recruit in the nation registered 3 sacks on the day.

“A great win after two losses and going against a great team in a rivalry game,” said Jarrett Guarantano. “Gene Coleman, Andrew Vito and Korab Idrizi all had big games and just being able to get the ball to them where they did a great job of getting open and catching the ball. Ryan and Josh did a great job of finding the hole and getting in. The line did a great job of protecting me as I came out safe and that’s all matters.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Sunil is the Rockland Boulders Beat Writer for DoubleGSports.com and also covers North Jersey High School Sports
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