On a warm fall night, the Crusaders hosted the Middletown Middie Bears in a key Section 9 showdown.
The Crusaders entered the game with a 3-2 record on the season having beat the Tigers of Kingston the previous week, 27-0. The Middies entered the game with a 3-1 record on the season after having the week off when the Pine Bush was unable to field a team due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
After a scoreless first period the Middies got on the board first when their quarterback Jaden Farrell scored on a 4-yard run for a 7-0 lead with 5:00 remaining in the half.
The Crusaders stormed right back down the field first a 20-yard run by quarterback Michael Zrelak and then a slashing run off tackle for a touchdown by Jayden Coulanges.
When Colin Douthit hit the Pat the teams were tied at 7-7.
The Crusaders got a big break on the next kickoff when the Middies mishandled the ball and ended up with a first down on their own 15-yard line. The Crusaders’ Kavan Tuttle when recovered a Middie fumble at the 39-yard line with :54 seconds left in the half and the Crusaders had just enough time to add a score.
First James Mastropolo broke through the Middies’ defense and rumbled 26 yards down to to the Middies 1-yard line.
With just :30 seconds left in the half, Zrelak pushed the pile into the end zone and with the Pat the Crusaders were up 14-7.
After the half time break the Middies recovered a Crusader fumble on their first play from scrimmage of the second half. After making a first down on 4th-and-10 the Middies tied the game up with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Leon Mckiver with 10:38 left in the third quarter.
The Crusaders responded and when Conor Fitzgibbon took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 29 yards and the Crusaders were set near midfield. The Crusaders drove the ball methodically down the field twice going for it on fourth down and converting it.
Finally, the Crusaders took the lead when Matteo Severo took a quick pitch and swept around the Middies defense to score but the missed kick left the score at 20-14 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
With 8:53 left in the game Eryk Shammgod put the Crusaders up 26-14 when he stormed into the end zone but the 2 point conversion was no good and the Middies were still alive. The Middies came out throwing on their next possession and moved the ball right down the field. They scored on a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Mccray and with the pat the score was 26-21 with 4 minuets left in the game. The Middies’ onside kick didn’t work but the Crusaders were unable to convert a 4th-and-short and the Middies had one last chance with a first and 10 on their own 25-yard line.
They moved the ball up the field again but this time Crusader linebacker Michael Rowe came up with game saving interception and the Crusaders ran out the clock.
The Crusaders’ 26-21 victory brings their season record to 4-2 their next game will be on Friday when they travel to Pine Bush to face the Bushmen.