Young Crusaders step up to the challenge in Ukiah scrimmage

The St. Bernard’s players gave their coaches plenty to smile about on Saturday with an impressive display in a preseason scrimmage against Ukiah at Crusader Field.

In particular, the SB offensive line played better than expected, with a performance that augurs well for the season.

“It was outstanding,” head coach Matt Tomlin said of the team effort against a far larger Wildcats program. “We were definitely ahead of where I thought we were going to be. I came out of it very happy.”

This year, the offensive line must find a way to replace graduated four-year star Connor Chase, but appears to be coming together as quick as anyone could have hoped for.

The starting unit of center Cole Petrusha, guards Harmon Daniel and Connor Petrusha and tackles Colton Smallwood and Jacob Smallwood paved the way for a big day for quarterback Will Omey and receiver Lane Thrap.

The senior duo is expected to play a huge role for the Crusaders in 2019, and connected on a 40-yard scoring pass on the second play in Saturday’s scrimmage.

Thrap added an interception at free safety a few plays later.

But the seniors weren’t the only players to contribute, with the emergence of several youngsters the highlight of the day, according to the head coach.

“I was really happy with the development of our young guys today,” Tomlin said. 

In particular, sophomore Peyton Smith and freshmen Grant Omey and Braeden Luna each made several big plays.

The younger Omey plays back-up running back and nickel back, while big things are expected out of Smith this year at receiver and cornerback

Luna plays outside linebacker.

“Those three were amazing and really showed us they can give us depth at some positions,” the head coach said.

The Crusaders open the season at El Molino next Friday night.

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