By Ray Hamill — It was a tough start to the season for St. Bernard’s on Saturday afternoon, as the Crusaders fell hard to a physical and disciplined St. Vincent de Paul team by a score of 33-7 at Crusader Field.
Trailing 21-0 at halftime, the Crusaders came out strong in the second half, recovering an onside kick and scoring on the ensuing drive to pull within two scores with plenty of time remaining.
But with senior quarterback Jaret Bosarge leading the way, the Mustangs responded with their fourth TD of the day on the following drive and there was no way back for the Crusaders after that.
“We got out-coached, we got out-played and we got beat in all facets of the game, offense, defense and special teams,” St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin said. “I’ve got to tip my cap to St. Vincent. They played a really good football game.”
In Tomlin’s words, St. Bernard’s also lost the injury game.
An already shorthanded Crusaders team lost two starters on the same play in the first half, when senior receiver Carl Nunes was hit hard by a St. Vincent player on a short reception over the middle.
Sophomore Ethan Hagler was also sidelined on the play and with senior linebacker/running back Grant Omey also out through injury for the first few weeks of the season — as well as some transfers unable to play until late September because of protocols — it leaves Tomlin with limited options right now.
However, when they get healthy again — and all of the injured players are expected back — the Crusaders could yet be a dangerous team in the second half of the season.
“When you have 17 players on your roster, that makes it tough,” the head coach said. “We had to play some guys out of position and it showed.
“I’m hoping they learned a lot and that will benefit us later in the season.”
Check out Owen Shanahan’s second-half TD catch for St. Bernard’s below …
Sisemore ran the ball hard against a physical St. Vincent front and the senior dual-threat QB also connected with Shanahan on a perfectly placed pass to the corner of the end zone for the team’s only TD of the day.
The 6-foot-6 Shanahan beat double coverage to pull in the TD catch and he caused mismatch problems for the Mustangs secondary all day.
“He made some big catches for us,” Tomlin said.
The inspirational Simoni also ran the ball hard and was a leader on defense, stepping up to fill the void in the absence of the injured players.
Kyler Smith also recovered a fumble for the SB defense.
The elusive Bosarge was outstanding for the visitors, evading tackles time and again, including a fantastic play early in the game when he escaped the grasp of a trio of St. Bernard’s defensive players and broke free for a 75-yard scramble down the sideline to set up his team’s opening score.
Things won’t get much easier for the Crusaders next week, when they host a physical Hoopa team that looks like a legitimate force this season and one that has impressed at preseason scrimmages as well as in Friday night’s season opener at South Fork.