Mustangs pull away late to beat the Crusaders

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Action from Saturday’s game at Crusader Field

By Ray Hamill — St. Bernard’s matched up well with St. Vincent de Paul for two and a half quarters at Crusader Field on Saturday, but the visitors scored 24 unanswered points to close out the game on the way to a 45-21 win.

Some missed tackles, turnovers and way too many penalties proved costly, as the Crusaders closed out their pre-league schedule with a disappointing loss.

“I think we competed well for the first two and a half quarters, but we committed so many penalties,” head coach Matt Tomlin said. “We had two touchdowns called back on penalties. It was just sloppy. We just committed too many penalties and put ourselves in a hole.”

It was indeed sloppy with both teams combining for 11 penalties in the third quarter alone and the flying yellow flags continued throughout the entire second half.

Up to that point it had been an exciting and evenly-matched game and the teams were tied 21-21 midway through the third quarter after the Crusaders rallied from a 14-7 halftime deficit with back-to-back TDs on their first two drives after the interval.

The following three SB drives, however, all ended on interceptions.

St. Vincent quarterback Gabe Casanovas threw for five touchdowns in the win, which was the Mustangs’ second over a Big 4 team in three weeks after also beating Fortuna 22-15.

The win lifts the Mustangs to 6-1 on the season.

Despite the sloppy play and endless penalties,  there were several bright spots for the Crusaders, most notably the play of receiver/kicker Tyler Hinrichs.

The standout sophomore pulled in a pair of TD catches in the third quarter both from freshman quarterback Trenten Hagler.

The dynamic young players connected on scoring plays of 38 and 45 yards, with Hinrichs also nailing all three PATs, including a long PAT after another penalty. 

Earlier in the game senior running back Wyatt Simoni broke through for a 62-yard TD run to tie the game at 7-7.

Check out one of Tyler Hinrich’s two third-quarter TD receptions above …

The Mustangs defense, however, did its best to limit the SB playmaker who has been on fire for most of the season.

“Simoni was outstanding again, he was just getting double and triple teamed all day,” Tomlin said. “We need someone else to step up and make plays.”

Senior lineman Jonathan Cortez also had a big game and continues to be one of the Crusaders’ most consistent players in the trenches at nose guard and right tackle.

The Crusaders will kick off the Big 4 next week when they host Fortuna in the most anticipated game of the season here on the North Coast.

And Tomlin likes where his team is at heading into league play, providing they can cut down on the mental mistakes.

“We’ve had a very successful pre-league,” the head coach said. “We’re 5-2 and I’m very happy with where we’re at, especially with two very young quarterbacks (Hagler and sophomore Luke Brunton).

“I feel like our two losses, we beat ourselves. The only team that can beat St. Bernard’s is St. Bernard’s.”

The St. Bernard’s JVs won their game 46-14.

The Crusaders play the Huskies next Saturday afternoon at Crusader Field.

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