For a half, Holy Cross’ football team was locked in a 3-0 struggle against Bonnabel on Saturday at Joe Yenni Stadium.
Tigers’ coach Eric Rebaudo said his team’s halftime meeting “was quiet. (I) didn’t yell, didn’t scream, didn’t do anything out of the ordinary.
“I told them, guys we just have to come out and play, execute.”
In sharp contrast to first half, Holy Cross (4-1) executed sharply in the third quarter, scoring on each of its first three possessions to start the second half and to take a 20-0 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Tigers won 27-7.
The scoring flurry began when quarterback Kyle Schexnayder guided the Tigers 68 yards after the second-half kickoff. Freshman running back Ashton Smith scored the game’s first touchdown on an 11-yard run. The eight-play drive took less than 21/2 minutes.
On the next possession, a short Bonnabel punt, kicked under pressure into a stiff north wind, only got back to the line of scrimmage and gave Holy Cross a first down at the Bruins 29.
Schexnayder needed only seven plays to get the second touchdown, a 4-yard pass to Darius Rodrique.
Reed Gravolet kicked a career-long 51-yard field goal the next time Holy Cross had the ball, making it 20-0.
“We woke up in the second half and just executed better,” Rebaudo said.
Schexnayder carried a heavier load than normal in the Holy Cross offense because a few starters did not play, including leading rusher Tre Turner and leading receiver Michael Chigbu.
Schexnayder ran for 104 yards on 17 carries and threw for 72, completing 10 of 15 passes.
“They could have played today,” Rebaudo said of the players he held out. “It was my decision to hold them. They’re fine. They actually practiced during the week.
“Precautionary reasons ... we begin play in a very physical district next week.”
Holy Cross meets archrival Jesuit (4-1) Friday night.
Fittingly, defensive back Jerome Bazile scored Holy Cross’ final touchdown on a 16-yard interception return. Bazile intercepted two passes in the game and also had a key stop in the first half on a smashing tackle.
On the touchdown interception, Bazile said defensive back “Kenny Hebert tipped the ball on his coverage. I just happened to be there to make a play.”
Bonnabel (1-4) was able to move into Holy Cross territory on each on its four first-half possessions. A fumble ended one drive at the 30. Another threat got as deep as the 9-yard line, but a bad snap lost 10 yards and that effort ended in a missed 36-yard field goal.
Bonnabel cut the margin to 27-7 with 40 seconds remaining in the game. Quarterback Semaj Franklin scored on a 4-yard run.