Brother Martin safety Adam Henderson knew “it was an important time” to do something. His diving interception near midfield with 1:09 left in the game gave Brother Martin a reprieve and salvaged the Crusaders’ unbeaten season Friday night against Shaw.
Henderson’s grab at the Martin 42-yard line turned a potential game-winning Shaw drive into a game-changer for Brother Martin, leading to a 36-29 Crusaders win at Tad Gornley stadium.
The game was tied at 29 and the Eagles, who dominated play for a good part of the game, had moved from their 22 to their 49 in the final minutes.
“I was covering (Jaiwon Charles) and when I saw the ball, I knew I had a chance to get it,” Henderson said after the Crusaders ran their record to 8-0, 3-0 in District 9 5-A. “I was so excited to be able to catch it.”
On the second play after the interception, Martin quarterback Jake Broggi appeared to be headed upfield on a scramble, he pulled up 2 yards short of the line of scrimmage and continued to run to his right.
Receiver Kyler Johnston saw his quarterback in trouble, broke off his route and ended up catching a short pass at the Shaw 45. He ran the ball to the 3-yard line before he tripped with 27 seconds remaining.
“It was not a designed play,” Johnston said. “I knew I had to get back toward Jake, and he found me (near the Shaw bench).
Jared West’s burst off the left side covered the final 3 yards and kept Brother Martin tied atop the Catholic District with Jesuit and Rummel. The latter two meet Saturday, and the Crusaders play each on the final two weeks of district play.
Shaw (4-4, 0-3) dominated early and led 20-14 at halftime and 26-14 midway through the third period.
“We were sleeping walking in the first half,” said Martin coach Mark Bonis. “But I’m really happy with the way we played in the second half. We fought back. We finished. It was a big win.”
Shaw’s Trey Ragas gained 208 rushing yards on 38 carries and scored on runs of 16 and 38 yards.
Shaw had 24 first downs in the game to Martin’s 12 and gained 308 yards. But Broggi’s 155 yards passing (9 of 15) and Johnston’s big night were difference-makers.
After Shaw took an early 3-0 lead, Johnston returned the kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. He also scored on a 15-yard reception with 3:55 remaining. West’s run for two points tied the game at 29-29.
The Crusaders, ranked No. 7 in 5A, are No. 6 in the Advocate’s Large School Super 10.