The Crusaders dominate in many ways, except on the scoreboard

HILLSBORO — Jesuit didn’t want to look at the scoreboard.

The Crusader football team had just lost to Central Catholic 16-7 on Friday night at Hillsboro Stadium, but there were so many indications that it should have won.

by: MILES VANCE - INTO THE OPEN - Jesuit junior quarterback Christian Martinek looks for running room during his teams 16-7 non-league loss to Central Catholic at Hillsboro Stadium on Friday night.

The Jesuit offense, led by senior tailback AJ Glass’ 175 rushing yards and one touchdown, had outgained the Rams by more than 100 yards. The Crusaders also racked up 10 more first downs than Central, and committed five fewer penalties for 40 fewer yards.

Jesuit’s defense did its part too, holding the Rams below 100 yards rushing and below 100 yards passing, allowing just seven first downs and forcing five punts and two turnovers.

But still, the Crusaders had lost for the first time this year, hamstrung by their inability to convert opportunities into points, and frustrated by Central’s sticky defense. That defense shut out Jesuit for the game’s final three quarters and used that success to fuel its victory, a win that lifted the Rams’ record to 2-2 while the Crusaders fell to 3-1.

“We’ve just got to put it together. We’re just going to have to get better,” said Jesuit senior tailback AJ Glass, who finished with 175 yards rushing and one touchdown on 43 carries. “But we need to get better mentally.”

“Central Catholic’s a good team. They have good kids,” said Jesuit junior linebacker/fullback Joey Alfieri, who led a defensive effort that held the Rams to just 183 yards in total offense and also recovered two fumbles. “We expected to do a little better, but we made a few mistakes in the red zone that cost us.”

The Crusaders actually grabbed a 7-0 lead on their second series of the opening quarter when Alfieri recovered a fumble by Rams’ quarterback Aidan Wilder at the Central Catholic 27-yard line. From there, Jesuit took eight plays to score, with Glass carrying seven times for 27 yards, the final three of those on a run over right guard that, along with Patrick Carley’s extra point, gave the Crusaders a 7-0 lead with 4 minutes, 35 seconds left in the quarter.

The Rams got a short-field chance of their own at the end of the first period when Glass fumbled the ball away at the end of an 18-yard run and Central’s Nate Salu took the loose ball back to the Jesuit 42. From there, Ryan Nall went wide right for 32 yards to the Crusader 10-yard line, and on the next play, Dallin Leavitt went around right end to score. Along with Mitch Seeley’s PAT, that score tied the game at 7-7.

Jesuit, which averaged 51 points per game in its first three wins, wouldn’t score again. The Crusaders turned the ball over twice more — on another lost fumble and an interception — and the Rams got the game-winning points midway through the second quarter when Seeley drilled a 43-yard field goal that skipped off the center of the crossbar and went over to give Central a 10-7 lead with 5:49 remaining before halftime.

The Crusaders drove as far as the Rams’ three-yard line on the next-to-last play of the first half, but saw quarterback Christian Martinek stuffed for a five-yard loss on fourth down to keep Central ahead at the break.

After a scoreless third period, Jesuit appeared that it would push into the lead at the start of the fourth when Martinek hit tight end Henry Mondeaux for a 22-yard pickup to the Rams’ three. But Mondeaux was assessed a personal foul for celebrating his catch, and four plays later, Carley missed what would have been a game-tying 35-yard field goal with 8:20 left to play.

Then, on Jesuit’s next series later, Central stopped the Crusaders on a fourth-down try at their own 37, took advantage of a Jesuit penalty, and tacked on the insurance score. Beginning at the Jesuit 22 with 4:29 remaining to play, Cameron Scarlett ran a dive for 20 yards to the two-yard line, and on the next play, Scarlett went off left tackle for the TD.

“They’ve got really good athletes,” Glass said. “They just came out better tonight.”

“This was a really good learning experience for us,” Alfieri added. “Now we know what it takes to play high-caliber teams, top teams in the state.”

Martinek went 6-of-17 passing for 85 yards, with Trent Werner catching two passes for 47 yards. Nall led Central rushers with 29 yards on four carries, Wilder went 9-of-12 for 94 yards, with Beau Duronslet making four catches for 69 yards.

On Friday, Jesuit opens Metro League play with a 7:30 p.m. game at Sunset. The Apollos are 0-1 in league after losing to Aloha 13-8 on Friday.

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