Defense dominates again as Crusaders get set for NCS with shutout win

Photos by Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — Are you ready for some playoff football?

The Crusaders are.

St. Bernard’s closed out the regular season with another dominating performance on Saturday, rolling over Fortuna 57-0 and setting themselves up nicely for the playoffs.

“I think we’re playing our best football of the year going into the playoffs,” head coach Matt Tomlin said. “And I look forward to seeing what we can do going forward.”

St. Bernard’s is the third ranked team in NCS Division 5 and is likely to receive a No. 3 seed at Sunday’s seedings meeting, which would give the Crusaders at least one home game in the eight-team bracket.

And if their defense continues to play as well as it has the past few weeks, they will be a tough out for anybody.

Saturday’s shutout was the second straight for the SB defense, which also scored two touchdowns in the win.

Over the last 14 quarters of play, the unit has allowed a total of just 32 points — 25 of them against a very potent Del Norte offense — and on Saturday they held the Huskies to just 15 yards offense.

“I really challenged our kids to set the physicality that we want as a team,” Tomlin said. “And I thought we established that physicality.”

And them some.

Not only did the defense set a physical tone, but the offense scored on two of the team’s opening three possessions to take control early, and the Crusaders led 29-0 at halftime.

Wyatt Simoni scored on a pair of early TD runs, and later would add an interception on a tipped pass in the end zone for a third touchdown.

Defensive tackle Perry Bailey also scored a defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery in the end zone and was generally disruptive once again alongside the very impressive Dominic Kofi.

“That’s two straight weeks Dominic Kofi has just been dominant on the offensive and defensive lines,” Tomlin said.

Grant Omey also scored on a four-yard run late in the first half, while quarterback Drew Sisemore connected with Demarte Prudhomme and Demetrius Rawson on long third-quarter TD passes of 56 and 82 yards, respectively.

Deshaun Bailey added a 70-yard TD catch from back-up quarterback Seth Brunton.

With the win, the Crusaders close out the regular season 6-4 and placed second in the Big 4 with a record of 4-2.

Fortuna closes out 4-6 and 1-5.

Saturday was also senior day for St. Bernard’s and a fitting regular season finale for the team’s 11 seniors.

“That was a great day for our seniors,” Tomlin said. “They’ve played a major role with this team. They’re all very valuable players.”

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