By Ray Hamill — The Crusaders will make a second straight trip out of the county this weekend to play football, this time traveling a little farther than last week’s game at Marin Catholic.
The St. Bernard’s players left town early on Thursday, on their way to Washington to play Tri-Cities Prep, stopping for a quick practice session in Portland along the way.
In what has become an almost annual trip out of state to play a game, head coach Matt Tomlin sees it as a great experience for his players and a chance for his team to bond.
“There’s a lot to learn from these trips,” he said. “It’s not just football.”
Three years ago, the Crusaders traveled to Texas, and in 2016 they went all the way to Florida for a game.
Last season, they stayed in state, but made the trip to Los Angeles for a game.
It’s a tradition Tomlin would like to continue, and he has been busy keeping an eye open for another game out of state somewhere next season.
The Jaguars, who play out of Pasco, Wash., are 4-0 on the season and are expected to push a strong Crusaders team that is 5-1.
For a point of comparison, they are ranked No. 4,362 in the nation by MaxPreps, with the Crusaders No. 5,719.
Still, it’s a game Tomlin expects his players to win.
“They’re pretty good,” the St. Bernard’s head coach said. “They’re very similar size to us. Offensively and defensively they do a lot of the same things. But I do think we’re a better team.”
Like the Crusaders, the Jaguars dominated their early-season opponents and have yet to be tested.
The Crusaders, however, should give them a far tougher challenge.
“They’re very similar to us,” Tomlin said. “They run the spread and they throw the ball a lot.”
In particular, the Crusaders defensive backs will have to account for standout junior Kobe Singleton, who reportedly will be following his brother Deion to play for Washington State.
The younger Singleton leads the Jaguars with 19 receptions for 403 yards and four touchdowns.
St. Bernard’s will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 47-14 loss at a good Marin Catholic team.
The Crusaders committed an uncharacteristic four turnovers in the loss, three in the first half, all of which were converted into touchdowns as the home team pulled away before halftime.
And Tomlin and his players know they’ll need a much improved performance in that regard to have any chance against the Jaguars.
With a bye next weekend, the game will be the final one for St. Bernard’s before they kick off their first season in the Big 4 in two weeks.
Junior quarterback Will Omey continues to lead a potent and explosive St. Bernard’s offense and has now thrown for 1,011 yards and 14 touchdowns, to just two interceptions.
Omey also has been a major contributor both on defense with three interceptions, as well as running the ball, where he leads the team with 825 yards and 11 more touchdowns.
Omey has been involved in 25 of the team’s 37 touchdowns this season.
Linebacker Justin Hagler continues to lead the team on defense with a team-high 40 tackles.
Saturday’s game is set for 6 p.m.