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Second Straight Year BC Defeats St. Joe’s in OT

For a 2nd consecutive year the Bergen Catholic Crusaders rallied to defeat the St. Joseph(Montvale) Green Knights in overtime. Last season at Robert Joseph Dinallo Stadium in Montvale the Crusaders were trailing 34-31 after a 36-yard field goal by St. Joe’s kicker Gavin Haggerty but Bergen Catholic responded on a TD run by Corey Russo to pull off the win in double overtime.

Fast forward a year later at Crusader Stadium in Oradell, sophomore QB Johnny Langan filling in for injured Senior QB Jarrett Guarantano for a 2nd game in a row rolled outside of the pocket and fired a 24-yard strike to Connor Hebbeler who managed to reel in the catch in heavy coverage giving Bergen Catholic a dramatic 16-13 victory.

“There were a couple of options on that play but when Johnny started rolling out I knew he would find me,” said Connor Hebbeler. “The best moment of my life and never felt that way before” added Hebbeler.

“Johnny kept the play alive and Connor kept running and ran his route making a heck of a catch in traffic” said Bergen Catholic Head Coach Nunzio Campanile. “Connor got hit by a couple of guys and bobbling the ball but finished the play in the end zone” added Campanile.

Down 13-10 with 3:29 left in the 4th quarter, Langan kept the drive alive gaining four yards on a 4th and 3 at the Green Knights 35. After a sack by St. Joe’s Marc Doran forced the Crusaders into a 2nd and 15, Langan completed a 21-yard pass to Frankie Feaster moving the ball to the 15. A facemask penalty on the St. Joe’s defense brought the ball down to the 4 but Langan was unable to complete any passes forcing a field goal attempt by freshman kicker Michael Kearney who calmly drilled home a 21-yard field goal with 6 seconds remaining.

“You practice this a million times and keep going over it,” said Michael Kearney. “First time you’re out there you’re scared and nervous” added Kearney.

“You talk about putting a kid in a pressure situation and tough spot but he works really hard and he’s going to be a great player,” said Nunzio Campanile. “He’s not afraid of the big moment and you keep in within 25 yards he is consistent” added Campanile.

Despite winning the coin toss, the Green Knights elected to defer to the 2nd half. After a touchback on the kickoff, the Crusaders wasted no time putting points up on the scoreboard going 80 yards in 4 plays in 2:23 capped off by Langan tossing 26-yard touchdown pass to Gene Coleman. On the score, Coleman caught the pass in the flat, broke towards the middle of the field and ended up eluding several tackles before crossing the end zone line.

“A team win just like last year when we did not have Jarrett and had to work with 2 QB’s throughout the season” said Gene Coleman. “Johnny came out and played great plus Ryan and Josh pounded the ball all game long” added Coleman.

Bergen Catholic’s defense forced St. Joe’s into a three-and-out on their first possession of the game but the Crusaders turned over the ball as Langan fumbled the snap leading to Green Knights Michael Carfago recovering the ball. A horse collar penalty on the Bergen Catholic’s defense on 2nd and 23 at the 35 moved the ball to the 20. However, Green Knights QB Nick Patti threw a couple of incomplete passes including a dropped pass in the end zone by John Thomas Giles-Harris forcing a field goal attempt where Angel Gugliemello boomed a 39-yard field goal through making it 7-3.

After another touchback on the ensuing kickoff, Langan was picked off on the first play from the 20 by Jack Agnew returning the ball down to the Crusaders one-yard line. Brian Kearns barreled through the line for the score making it 10-7 St. Joe’s with 5:46 left in the 1st quarter.

“Both teams’ were battling it out and we made some great plays,” said Nunzio Campanile. “A huge win as St. Joe’s has a great team and program but we’re proud of the effort our guys gave” added Campanile. “I think the football in this league is as good anywhere and the difference is in out of state games with a lot of young QB’s playing and against unbelievable teams’ on the road.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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