It’s safe to say the Crusaders were playoff ready on Saturday.
St. Bernard’s opened the North Coast Section Division-6 postseason in style, coming storming out of the gates on the way to a 58-18 win over Ygnacio Valley at Crusader Field.
Senior quarterback Will Omey threw for six touchdown passes in the first half alone, while a pair of younger players combined to fill a big hole in the starting lineup.
Omey was outstanding once again, spreading the ball around and keeping the visitors guessing the whole first half, as the home team ended the game as a contest early and decisively.
And he wasn’t the only Omey to impress.
Freshman and younger brother Grant Omey dominated the visitors on the other side of the ball, filling in on defense for the injured Logan Petrusha.
“I thought he was probably our best defensive player,” head coach Matt Tomlin said of the DB who has emerged late in the season as a big time player for the Crusaders. “He’s a big hitter and he really put some big hits on their quarterback today.”
Sophomore Demarte Prudhomme filled in for the missing Petrusha at receiver and didn’t disappoint, turning in his best offensive performance of the season after having dominated defensively for the past few weeks.
“He really played all over the field,” Tomlin said of Prudhomme.
They were far from the only heroes for the Crusaders, who did a good job of spreading the ball around.
“We threw seven touchdowns to five different receivers,” Tomlin said. “And it was special to get that many players involved.”
Three of Will Omey’s TD passes went to senior receiver Lane Thrap, with one each going to Talimaivao Fonoti, Bode Joyner and Justin Hagler.
Fonoti set the tone early with some bruising runs, and also had a fumble recovery on defense that he returned 45 yards for a TD midway through the second quarter.
Hagler made some big plays early in the game, while Joyner had a TD pass to Prudhomme after taking over at quarterback in the second half.
Kicker Guillermo Perez-Estrada added a 23-yard field and seven of eight PATs to round out the scoring.
SB head coach Matt Tomlin took in the game from the press box for a change, something he says he will probably continue to do through the playoffs.
“It gives me a really good look. I can make better adjustments,” he said. “And I have a great coaching staff of assistant coaches.”
The No. 2 seed Crusaders will now advance to play No. 3 Middletown in Eureka next weekend after the Mustangs got the better of Pinole Valley 40-6 in their playoff opener.
Mustangs head coach Bill Foltmer is the winningest coach in the NCS with more than 250 career wins and Tomlin is expecting a battle.
“He’s a legend and we really expect a good game,” Tomlin said.