Fast start propels Bergen Catholic to 41-16 win over Delbarton in Non-Public Group 4 Semifinal
Bergen Catholic quarterback Johnny Langan calls the connection between him and wide receiver Dylan Classi bread and butter. “There is absolute trust in each other and knowing that we’re going to do our jobs and come out with a great outcome” said Langan. The two seniors playing in their last home game at Crusader Stadium in Oradell, New Jersey put on offensive display hooking up for three touchdowns as the Crusaders advanced to their first Non-Public Group 4 sectional final since 2012.
Langan completed 10 of 18 passes for 242 yards and four touchdowns while rushing 12 times for 40 yards. Meanwhile Classi hauled in five catches for 150 yards and became Bergen Catholic’s all-time leader in career receptions with 89 and touchdowns with 20. Junior running back Josh McKenzie led a potent running attack that amassed 168 yards on the ground, carrying the ball 11 times for 80 yards as the Crusaders rolled up 453 total yards of offense.
“I said it to the team beforehand it’s the last time we will ever play a game here and all the hard work we put on this field,” Langan said. “It’s great to come out of this game with a victory. I have never been to Met Life Stadium and a long time coming and been working very hard for this a majority of my life and get an opportunity to what I set out for.”
Bergen Catholic Head Coach Nunzio Campanile on Langan and Classi, “They are a great duo and friends’ and spend so much time talking about it and see that in the chemistry they play with and amount of hours in the off-season training together and throwing routes. It’s not a surprise the level of success they have with each other.”
“We came out guns blazing and executed in practice all week and game plan perfectly in the first quarter,” said Classi. “The past couple of weeks we came out slow in the beginning but today we didn’t let that happen and came out firing and played really well for the most part and proud of the team. We can take the momentum into the biggest game of the year and build off that. This is four years in the making and we’re not done yet.”
Bergen Catholic wasted no time lighting up the scoreboard as on their first offensive series Langan fired a 21-yard touchdown pass down the middle of the seam to Classi. After the Crusaders defense forced Delbarton’s offense on a three-and-out, Langan connected with Classi in stride on a 88-yard bomb with 5:23 remaining.
The Green Wave attempted some trickery on their ensuing possession with a fake punt run but Anthony Corbin stopped the punter short of the first down. Taking advantage of the great field position, Langan pitched the ball to wide receiver Aeneas DiCosmo on a second and six from the 25, DiCosmo breaking through the line and into the end zone increasing the margin to 21-0 with 3:17 left.
“We got off to a really fast start and kind of slowed down a little bit, Dylan(Classi) got hurt and precautionary and did not make sense to thrown him back in the game,” said Campanile. “We found our bearings and did enough and guys played really hard.”
Before exiting with an injury, Classi caught his third touchdown from Langan in the second quarter. Delbarton finally got on the scoreboard late in the period scoring nine points in the span of 26 seconds. However, DiCosmo provided the dagger on the defense picking up a loose ball as the Green Wave attempted a hook and ladder play, returning the ball 22 yards for the score as the Crusaders went into the locker room with a 34-9 advantage.
“Aeneas (DiCosmo) was making plays all over the place and a very dynamic player and does a lot of things,” Campanile said. “He is very fast, tough and explosive and catch the ball, run it and used him in a lot of different ways and today finally got the opportunity to get into the end zone and been a great player all season long and almost like an unsung hero on this team because he is a phenomenal player and athlete and people don’t talk about him a lot and put it on display today.”
Bergen Catholic (9-2) takes on St. Peter’s Prep (9-2) in the Non-Public Group 4 sectional final at Met Life Stadium. Earlier this season the Crusaders soundly defeated the Marauders 41-14 at Crusader Stadium. However, last season and in 2014 St. Peter’s Prep knocked off Bergen Catholic in the state playoff semifinals. The Crusaders are looking to win their first state championship since 2004 and 17th overall in school history.
“Every year it’s like fighting for a heavyweight title and been a couple of years since we have been there and have an opportunity and means a lot to our kids, coaching staff, school, alums and we have to finish and go out there and get it done,” Campanile said.
Sunil Sunder Raj
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