Crusader sophomore throws for five touchdowns in rout

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit sophomore quarterback Eric Restic threw for five touchdowns, including four in the first half, against Lakeridge to help the Crusaders roll to a 62-33 quarterfinal win.

Quit calling Eric Restic a game-managing signal caller.

The Jesuit sophomore has rapidly turned into a bona fide difference maker at the quarterback position for the Crusaders, and his head coach and older teammates couldn’t be happier about it.

Restic shed that dreaded “game-manager” tag once and for all in the 6A quarterfinals against Lakeridge by throwing for five touchdowns and 136 yards in a 62-33 thrashing on Friday to send Jesuit to the 6A semifinals against Canby this Saturday at noon at Jeld-Wen Field.

“People can label me whatever they want. I’ll just go out, play my game, and have fun,” said Restic who only had two incomplete passes against the Pacers. “I know I can do this stuff, I just had to put it into action. I finally did tonight. I felt like I could trust my teammates, and I definitely felt more comfortable back in the pocket. Everybody stepped up this game and really played great. My line did a really great job. The receivers did a great job going and getting some balls that weren’t so great. It was a great team win.”

Restic—the Crusaders’ former Captain Checkdown—is no more.

“Restic stepped up as a leader, and played his heart out,” said senior offensive lineman Mike Miller. “We wanted to grind it out and just play our game. We didn’t want to change what we do every day. We wanted to take it to them every single snap. We talked about giving everything we got every play, and just keep pushing. We got it done, and that’s the best thing you could ask for.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit sophomore defensive back Donovan Baldocchi intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble for the Crusader defense during Jesuit's 62-33 rout of Lakeridge on Friday..

“It was an emotional game,” added sophomore fullback Mike Petroff. “This is the quarterfinals, and you want to keep playing. It’s do or die, so both teams played their hearts out. Great game to be apart of.”

Once deemed as a glorified ball distributor entrusted to simply hand the ball off to Jesuit’s all-star running backs, Restic threw for four first half touchdowns and outdueled Lakeridge’s Houdini-like field general Eric Dungey.

Head coach Ken Potter took the leash off his sophomore quarterback, and assuredly put the game in the hands of Restic, who steered the Crusaders high-octane-powered offense like a seasoned senior.

“(Potter) has so much confidence in me, and I really appreciate that,” said Restic. “He puts a lot of trust in me, and expects me to perform. That’s what I have to do, and I’m just grateful he trusts me to get the job done.”

Restic’s certainty in himself was never more apparent than it was in the first half against Lakeridge, when Jesuit piled 42 points on a Pacer defense that prided itself as being one of the best units in the state.

With Jesuit leading 21-14 late in the second quarter, the sophomore faked a handoff to Chase Morrison, calmly dropped back deep in the pocket, and delivered a 44-yard bombshell into the hands of Trent Werner, who galloped away for the easy touchdown to go up 28-14.

“I was really comfortable,” said Restic. “I felt really good with my line protecting me the way they did. My receivers played great, so all I had to do was put the ball up, and they were going to come down with it.”

The Crusaders’ defense forced a three-and-out on the next possesion, which gave Restic and the offense the ball with just under three minutes to go in the second.

Two plays later, Restic rolled left after getting dislodged from the pocket, dodged a Pacer defensive end, and found tight end Christian Martinek alone downfield. Restic floated the ball perfectly to the 6-foot-4 target, who hauled in the pigskin, quaked off two defenders and bounded into the end zone for his second score of the game to push the advantage to 35-14.

Armed with a commanding lead, Jesuit’s defense kept the pedal to the floor when sophomore defensive back Donovan Baldocchi recovered a fumble with 56 seconds to go before halftime.

Then, on 2 and 7, Restic dropped another dead-on dime to Werner for 37 yards to move the ball down to the Pacer 6-yard line. Two plays later, Restic fired a 6-yard rope to Werner, who reeled the ball along the sideline and hung it across the pylon for the Crusaders’ sixth touchdown of the half, 42-14.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit tight end Christian Martinek, left, caught two touchdown passes in the first half of the Crusaders' 62-33 6A quarterfinal win over Lakeridge on Friday.

“Restic took over the game,” said Werner. “Mentally, he was calling plays. He was putting balls in the right place. It was him keeping his composure throughout the game. He was standing in the pocket taking some shots too, so you have to enjoy that. He showed he’s tough.”

In that crucial 4-minute, 18 -second second quarter span, Jesuit’s offense has rarely been better or more balanced. Lakeridge wanted to make Restic beat them with his right arm, and he did, pistol whipping the Pacers with seeds and dimes to Martinek and Werner.

The Lakeridge secondary constantly committed to stop Morrison in the run game, only to have to watch Martinek and Werner race past them and make big, explosive plays vertically downfield.

It was the optimum offensive balance Jesuit’s been looking for all year, and found at the expense of a guessing, off-kilter Lakeridge defense. The tireless Morrison was outstanding running the rock as Restic was throwing it, rushing 40 times for 246 yards and four scores.

“The run was there when we needed it, but Restic had a heck of a game passing,” said Werner. “It was good knowing we were clicking running and passing. It keeps teams honest because they have to respect the run, but they also have to respect the pass. It’s going to be harder for other defenses to handle our offense if we have two ways to attack.”

“They said we’ve never seen a d-line as good as them,” added senior guard David Brugato. “They said they were all D1 players. But, we knew we could just run our game, and nobody could stop us if we’re at our best. I was proud of guys.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit  junior running back Chase Morrison, right, ran for four touchdowns and more than 200 yards versus a Pacer defense that was heralded as one of the best in the state.

Lakeridge emptied the clip trying to stop Morrison and the Crusaders’ hulks upfront.

They used an odd-man front, and stacked the box with eight, sometimes nine defenders. The Pacers blitzed their safeties, and tried to time up Restic’s snap count in order to shoot into the backfield.

None of it worked.

The disciplined, no-nonsense Crusader offensive line of Brugato, Charlie Landgraf, Ben Jarrett, Mike Miller, Nick Miller and tight end Henry Mondeaux just imposed their tenaciousness on the puffed up Pacers, and promptly propelled them out of the postseason.

“They played with a lot of heart,” said Morrison of his offensive line. “They practice hard every day, and they just want to win. It’s fun running behind them, because the holes are big, and most of the time, it’s just me and the linebacker one-on-one in the hole. It’s 5 yards every time.”

“They’re supposedly the best d-line in the state, but I think we just proved how good we are as an (offensive) line,” said offensive tackle Nick Miller. “As the games go by, and we keep running it down their throats every day, every play, that’s just how we play. They knew what was coming, and they couldn’t stop it. That’s the best feeling. We were really mentally ready for this game. We knew what was coming. We knew they weren’t the cleanest team out there, but we just battled.”

Dungey was a one-man spectacle for four quarters, running for 166 yards and throwing for 128 despite being sacked six times. Jesuit’s defense was timely, however, in big moments. The Crusaders’ 21-point outburst in the second quarter was quietly set up by an opportunistic defense that upturned the pigskin, and presented the ball to an offense that buzzed in the first half.

“It was really easy to keep their defense tired because of how well our defense played,” said Brugato. “We knew we could just keep pounding the ball on them.”

“Our defense came up with some big stops, which allowed us to get into the end zone a couple more times before half,” added Restic. “I thought that was huge in shifting the momentum of the game.”

Baldocchi’s interception on Lakeridge’s first possesion of the third quarter led to an 8-yard touchdown run by Morrison that pushed the lead to 48-11. Restic hit Petroff for a 3-yard score later in the third. Morrison’s fourth and final touchdown in the fourth quarter was the icing on the cake.

“This is a great day for our team, and our program,” said Mike Miller. “I don’t think you could ask for anything better. It was a great game, and a great win for all of us. We got it together.”

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