Running game propels Bergen Catholic to 35-17 win over Don Bosco in Non-Public Group 4 Semifinals
Sensing a need of urgency after trailing arch rival Don Bosco Prep 10-0 late in the first half of the Non-Public Group 4 Semifinals at Crusader Stadium(Bergen Catholic High School) on Saturday afternoon, Pierson Tobia provided that spark intercepting Ironmen quarterback Jahquil Betts. The Crusaders took advantage of the miscue as quarterback Andrew Boel connected on a 23-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tyler DeVera with 1:40 remaining.
“The play of the game, he has such a knack of making those plays and done it week in an out throughout the year and unsung hero, said Bergen Catholic Head Coach Vito Campanile. Garrett(Cody) is a such a dynamic receiver but Pierson can play every position on the field and I say it all the time a guy I can trust all the time, have unbelievable respect for him as a football player and person”
In the third quarter, Don Bosco’s Jason Haber picked off a Boel pass returning the ball to the Crusaders 45. Just when it seemed Don Bosco was on the verge of a big drive, momentum back in the favor of Bergen Catholic as Jeremiah Grant picked off a pass by Batts.
Held to 14 yards on 5 carries in the first half, running back Rahmir Johnson(16 rushes for 152 yards) energized the Bergen Catholic sideline and home crowd with a 44-yard touchdown with less than eight minutes remaining. However, Don Bosco wasted no time answering back on their ensuing drive with running back Kyle Monangai(13 carries for 138 yards) ripping off his second touchdown of the game, a 56-yarder untouched down the right sideline with 5:20 left.
The back and forth action continued, gambling on a fourth and eight from the Bergen Catholic, Anthony Corbin( 7 carries for 95 yards) took the direct snap and blasted through the line and rumbling 78 yards to pay dirt as the Crusaders reclaimed the advantage at 21-17 with 4:13 to go.
“We just grinded it out and really anted to save Rahmir for the second half and he made some big plays. Not a lot of coaching but he has God given ability, a home run hitter and great player. A lot of faith in our defense and held on to it and practice it every day but just an opportune time and we got them, Campanile said”
Defensive lineman John High stepped up with three sacks including one on Betts that forced a quick three and out. After churning out 13 yards on the grounds, Johnson capped off his impressive performance slashing through the line and darting for a 62-yard score with 30 seconds remaining. In the fourth quarter, Grant made his presence known again stripping Batts of the ball allowing AJ Longo to fall on it in the end zone for the touchdown and sealing the Bergen Catholic victory.
“John High is a man on a mission, been hurt and out of a couple of weeks, said Campanile. Jeremiah is an outstanding player and making those plays in every game and one of those guys that has mattered. The mantra of our school is to develop players and come to be the best and he has had 12 sacks since Aeneas(Di Cosmo) went down and making the most out of the opportunity and next man up”
With the win, Bergen Catholic(10-1) returns to the Non-Public Group 4 Final for a second consecutive time and searching for back-to-back sectional titles. The Crusaders will take on another arch-rival in the St. Joseph(Montvale) Green Knights(9-2) on Saturday November 24that Met Life Stadium with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. Back on October 6th when the two teams’ squared off against each other, Bergen Catholic rallied for a 24-20 win.
“An unbelievable opportunity for our school and players, Campanile said. This is why you come to Bergen Catholic and what it’s all about. The cathedral of football in New Jersey is at Met Life Stadium and no better place to do it”
Sunil Sunder Raj
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