August 27, 2021 – Akron, OH – In a match-up between two of the nation’s highest ranked teams, BC travelled to Ohio to take on defending state champions, the Archbishop Hoban Knights on Friday. This was the earliest a Crusader team has ever played a game, so facing an opponent with a 38-0 victory already under its belt made it a curious battle.
The home team received the opening kickoff and you could see from the outset, this would be a physical battle. Knight bodies flew as Malachi Mercer and Chris Mimmo recorded the first tackle at the 22-yard line for the Crusaders.
The Knights had some opening-drive jitters as the QB mishandled the opening snap, resulting in a loss of three yards. After two incompletions, Hoban punted and DJ Samuels partially blocked the kick, setting up a first down for the Crusaders at the 50-yard line.
Senior running back, Ryan Butler, rushed for 5 yards on first down, but junior runner Saeed St. Fleur was stopped on his opening attempt bringing up a third and five for BC. Notre Dame-bound QB Steve Angeli threw a beautiful pass that was not handled for a first down, so the Crusaders punted, placing the Knights deep in their end.
On third down and two, the Knights fumbled for the second time in the opening minutes of the game, but this time the Crusaders recovered it. Junior defensive tackle Sydir Mitchell reached his great hand out and pulled the ball in, giving BC possession in scoring range.
On first down, Angeli threw his second and last incomplete pass of the evening (he would finish the evening 14 for 16, 195 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs). After Butler lost a yard, Angeli ran on third down and picked up eight yards. The play brought up a 4th Down and two from the 9-yard line and Coach Campanile decided to go for it. When you have a strong offensive line and Princeton-bound Ryan Butler running behind it, that is often a good decision. Butler scored his first touchdown of the season and when Giancarlo Carbonaro added the extra point (his first of 6 on the day), BC led 7-0.
On the second kickoff, AJ Morris joined Mercer as the first to the kick returner after Carmello Velardo drove the ball down to the 24-yard line. Once again, the Crusader defense was in business.
After no gain on first down, the Knights decided to throw. Christian Ross showed some great resolve as he chased down Hoban QB, Kharion Davis on the perimeter and sacked him for a 2-yard loss. After an incomplete pass, the Knights were ready to punt again, but gave the Crusaders outstanding field position at the Hoban 41.
It took less than two minutes for Angeli to engineer a touchdown drive, completing a twelve-yard pass to birthday boy, Jack Comeau, and handing off to Butler for a six-yard gain. On third and twelve, the QB hit a leaping Logan Casey who perfectly shielded his opponent in the endzone as he hauled in the long pass.
The Crusaders were up 14-0, but the home team was not going to go quietly. Three consecutive big plays resulted in a 4-play, 76-yard scoring drive for the Knights and BC’s lead was cut in half 14-7.
That was as close as the Ohioans would come. The two teams had short second-quarter drives. John Fiore’s sack of Davis would be the key play in the Knight’s try and that would set up solid field position for BC.
Angeli wasted no time, completing a 30-yard pass to Santino Correa and quickly returning to Correa for a 22-yard gain. His next completion would come to junior tight end Jack Comeau, who brought the ball 13 yards to the 2. Butler was not going to waste any time and quickly scored his second TD of the evening.
The third quarter was all Crusaders as they scored 21 additional unanswered points.
Saeed St. Fleur started the third quarter scoring, capping off a 6-play, 80-yard drive with an 8-yard burst into the endzone.
On the Knights second play of the half, AJ Morris sacked the quarterback and forced a fumble which Malachi Mercer jumped on and recovered. A Ryan Butler 12-yard run helped to set up Angeli’s scoring run of 9 yards.
On the ensuing drive, Davis threw an interception to Fabian France, who returned the ball and helped to set up an Angeli to Correa scoring strike.
The fourth quarter provided St. Fleur, Justan Luzzi and DaQuan Stewart some opportunities to show-off their ball-carrying skills. Jack Duffy and Dominic Campanile completed their first career varsity passes and the Crusader faithful celebrated the end of the running clock with the singing of the school’s alma mater, Lead on Bergen Catholic High!