It might not have been pretty, and it was probably much closer than fans would have liked, but the Brother Martin Crusaders won their fifth game in a row Friday night.
Crusaders kicker Jack Landry made a 34-yard field goal as time expired to tie the game, and running back Eric Lassair punched in the winning touchdown from 1 yard out as Brother Martin defeated Jesuit 23-17 in overtime.
“You have to give Jesuit credit,” said Crusaders coach Mark Bonis. “They battle every game. I have to give our kids credit too. I mean, they found a way to win a whole bunch of close football games, which says something about our guys.”
The game was scoreless until there was 2:16 left in the first half, when Jesuit kicker Max Scheurich made a 22-yard field goal. But Crusaders quarterback John Paul Pierce connected with L.J. Gilyot for a 59-yard touchdown just two plays later, and Brother Martin took a 7-3 lead into halftime.
The Blue Jays took the lead right back in the third quarter when running back Michael Torry ran 41 yards to the house to put Jesuit up 10-7.
Brother Martin would reclaim the lead in the fourth quarter on a 6-yard touchdown run from Lassair.
But Jesuit wasn’t ready to go down without a fight. Blue Jays quarterback Alex Watermeir took over at his team's 21-yard and completed 6 of 8 passes for 71 yards, capping the drive off with a beautiful over-the-shoulder pass to Robert McMahon for a 12-yard touchdown and a 17-14 Jesuit lead with 3:08 left.
However, Pierce and company know how to pull off a comeback too. After the teams traded punts, the Crusaders took over at their own 33 with about a minute to go. Pierce deftly led his team down the field completing 5 of 6 passes for 54 yards to reach the 17-yard line with four seconds remaining.
Although Jesuit attempted to ice him, Landry showed he was just too cool in nailing his 34-yard attempt to force overtime.
Jesuit had the first possession but was forced into a field goal try, but Scheurich was wide right and Brother Martin took over. Lassair punched it in from 1 yard out to get the hard-fought victory.
Jesuit coach Mark Songy commended both sides.
“It’s a terrific ball game for the fans,” he said. “Great plays on both sides, mistakes on both sides. I thought both teams fought real hard, and I’m proud of the way our guys fought.”
As for the Crusaders, they’re happy to keep winning.
“We didn’t play very well last week,” said Bonis. “We didn’t play very well tonight, but we’re still very young, still getting better, but the good news is we haven’t peaked yet, so hopefully we can peak as we move further along into the playoffs."