October 3 – Montvale, NJ – It’s never easy. While the Crusaders jumped out to a 14-0 second-quarter lead, you just knew the home Green Knights would not go quietly.
Junior tailback, Ryan Butler, had a day. Making up for a lost month of September, Butler combined for 254 total yards of offense and three touchdowns to lead BC to a 24-21 opening day victory.
After stopping SJR on their opening drive, the Crusaders started driving with Butler making an impact as a rusher and as a receiver.
The drive ended with a very long missed BC field goal attempt, but it pinned St. Joe’s deep. On the following drive, St. Joes fumbled and an alert Joe Stern recovered.
It was time for Butler and QB, Steven Angeli, to go to work. The Crusaders went 55 yards on 7 plays, finished off by a 14 TD run by Butler, his first TD of the game. Giancarlo Carbonaro pumped through the point after touchdown (PAT) and BC took a 7-0 lead on the last play of the first quarter.
Defensive back, Jaden Gould would make the next big play of the day, receiving a fumble and returning it 30 yards to the SJR 18-yard line.
John Rust rumbled-off three yards on first down. Rust would finish the day with 42 yards of total offense. Then, on second and seven, Butler scored his second TD of the game. This time, it was a pass reception on a beautifully thrown slant from Steven Angeli. The junior QB connected for two TD passes on the day and threw for 217 yards on 17 completions and no interceptions overall.
Audric Estime from St. Joseph Regional showed some exceptional speed, bursting for 80 yards and a score to answer BC’s second score, but the one-score gap did not last very long.
BC answered in a hurry with an 80-yard drive marked by some explosive plays. The Angeli-to-Butler connection was good for a 64 yard completion down the BC sideline, followed by a 19-yard romp by Rust. BC once again connected the #1 and #9 train, for the third touchdown of the half. Carbonaro added his third PAT and BC led 21-7 at half.
The Crusaders dominated possession of the ball throughout the game, holding it for 29:29 of the 48 minutes of play. They put themselves in good position with 8:50 remaining in the fourth quarter as Giancarlo Carbonaro punched through a 22-yard field goal, giving BC a 24-7 lead. Those three points were big as the game was now a three-score game and boy did we need it!
SJR would not go quietly, scoring TDs at the 7:20 and 4:12 marks of the fourth quarter. Those minutes of possession were suddenly very difficult to come by, as BC went three plays and out on their final drive of the game, giving Joe’s 1:51 to drive 63 yards for a potential game winning score. The BC defense came up strong as Malachi Mercer came up with a number of big tackles. Mercer tied for the team lead in tackles with Esquire Boyce with 11 apiece.