Crusaders rally falls just short at Petaluma


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St. Bernard’s lost a close one on Saturday night, falling 21-20 against St. Vincent de Paul in Petaluma despite a big second half on both sides of the ball.

After a mistake-filled start to the game, the Crusaders settled down and began to dominate, scoring three unanswered touchdowns, all of them by the outstanding Wyatt Simoni.

“It was a tale of two halves,” head coach Matt Tomlin said. “We were absolutely terrible in the the first half, and in the second half we played really good football.”

Simoni, who is only a sophomore, switches between right guard and running back and had a huge night at both positions.

“He was amazing tonight,” Tomlin said. 

So too was quarterback Drew Sisemore, who showed no ill-effects from a hand injury suffered in a scrimmage last week and had a very productive night running the ball.

Trailing 21-0 midway through the second quarter, the Crusaders finally got going, pulling within two touchdowns on Simoni’s first score of the game shortly before halftime.

Simoni and the Crusaders added two more TDs after the interval and then drove deep into St. Vincent territory in the final seconds, only to see a 27-yard field goal attempt go wide right as time expired.

Senior defensive tackle Perry Bailey also had a huge game, finishing with three sacks.

Early mistakes, however, proved costly for the Crusaders, who had two fumbles on their first three plays from scrimmage, two of which led to St. Vincent scores.

St. Bernard’s also committed 11 penalties in the first half.

“Turnovers and penalties killed us,” Tomlin said.

The head coach, however, says his players will grow from the experience.

“We learned a lot about our team and we definitely got better,” Tomlin said. “And that was a good football team.”

The Crusaders return home to play Hoopa next Saturday. 

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