Saturday, September 30, 2006
By Clark Washington
There's a lot that could be said about a team who was trailing by twenty-two points before the halftime intermission even begins. The way that the Delran Bears began their homecoming game, everything was going right for the home team. This was a battle between two undefeated teams and Bishop Eustace appeared to be headed for their first loss of the season. But during the second half, the Crusaders began to chip away at their deficit and trailed by six points with less than three minutes remaining in the game. With only about a minute remaining in this thrilling game, quarterback Jimmy Rafferty connected with Nick DeNoble on a post pattern from 62-yards out giving Bishop Eustace the come-from-behind victory. With their 29-28 victory, the Crusaders improved their record to 4-0 midway through the season.
It was the battle in the trenches that took center stage. Both teams came out running the ball to see which lanes were available to run through. Delran would continue to run the ball but was able to mix in a few pass plays, one of them a 23-yard touchdown reception from Max Larson to Jim McHugh. The same pair was successful on their two point attempt and the Bears were the first to finally score with 2:27 remaining in the quarter. Delran would continue to be successful throwing the ball when tight end Matt Kreider caught a short pass over the middle and broke free for a 47-yard touchdown. Just over five minutes later, Larson scored on a keeper and another two point conversion, the Bears owned a 22-0 lead with 2:32 remaining until halftime. Plenty of time to score and the Crusaders did so when runningback Tony Thornton scored from 4 yards out.
Bishop Eustace came out of the break being able to run the ball with success. Michael DiMaggio’s 7-yard touchdown and two point conversion made this a close game at 22-15 with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter. But right back the home team came, this time connecting on a 71 yard touchdown reception by Ryan McFadden and the Bears widen their lead to 28-15 after the missed point after attempt. Now entering the final quarter of regulation, DiMaggio would complete a perfectly executed halfback option pass to DeNoble from 24-yards out. Bishop Eustace would get the ball back and DeNoble would reel in the pass from Rafferty with 16 seconds remaining to tie this game at 28-28. Nick Damato’s extra point sailed through the uprights and the Crusaders would pick up the one point victory and remain undefeated.