On a beautiful Friday night, Sept. 10, the Crusaders traveled to Cornwall to kickoff their season against the defending Class A champion Dragons.
The Dragons entered the game 1-0 record, having defeated Port Jervis last week in their season opener 36-0.
The Dragons got on the board first when Jake Ward broke through the Crusaders defense and scored on a 30-yard touchdown run.
Later in the first quarter Crusader Andrew Pichardo gave the team break when he recovered a fumble on Dragons’ 33 yard line. But the Crusaders sluggish offense was unable to cash in on the opportunity.
In the second quarter, the Crusaders tied things up. QB Michael Zrelak scored on a one-yard dive and Colin Douthit added the point after to knot the score at 7.
Right before the half the Dragons drove the ball down the field and it looked like they were going to score. But defensive back Conor Fitzgibbon stopped their drive with an interception in the end zone.
In the third quarter the Dragons again drove the ball down to the Crusaders’ one-year line.
And again, the Crusader defensive came up big when Keron Beckham came up with the Dragon fumble to stop their drive.
But the Crusaders were unable to move the ball and on fourth down were forced to punt the ball out of their own end zone.
That’s when disaster struck.
Dragon Andre Hedgemond blocked the Crusader punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown and when they added the PAT the Dragons were up 14-7.
In the fourth quarter, the Crusaders defense came up with another turnover when Michael Rowe recovered a fumble on Dragons’ 25 yard line but the Crusaders just could not move the ball.
The Crusaders fate was sealed when their defense stopped the Dragons and forced them to punt. but the mishandled kick gave the Dragons the ball deep in Crusaders territory.
Again the Crusaders defense rose to the occasion and held but the offense was just unable to move the ball and the Dragons came away with a 14-7 victory.
The Crusaders loss brings their record to 0-1 on the season. Their next game was scheduled for Friday at home against Valley Central but the Vikings had to pull out of the game because of a COVID issue.
- William Dimmit