Judge Bests St. Joe’s in Thriller
PHILADELPHIA – In a see saw battle between two Philadelphia Catholic League AAAA teams, Father Judge outlasted St. Joe’s Prep 28-21 in a thriller at Northeast’s Charles Martin Stadium on Friday.
It was the conference opener for both teams. With Judge leading 3-0, Prep QB Skyler Mornhinweg hit Jim Hurley with a nifty 59 yard touchdown pass down the right sideline for their first lead at 7-3. Judge answered with their own four minute, 12 play, 64 yard drive punctuated with Junior Quarterback Brian Hennessey’s 30 yard touchdown pass to Tom Mucerino.
The drama continued at the start of the second half when Judge recovered a Prep fumbled kick return. After a couple of penalties pushed Judge back, they were forced to punt and Prep’s Jeff Heath alertly picked up a shanked pooch punt and raced 78 yards to pay dirt once again giving St. Joe the lead, 14-13.
The Prep appeared to take control shortly thereafter when RB Mark Casale opened up their next drive with an 80 yard TD. Earlier in the first half, Casale had a 72 yard jaunt returned for a holding call.
Down 21-13 and six plays later the Crusaders went 77 yards to pull them within two that ended with a Connor Thompson 25 yard touchdown run. Nick Myers added the two point conversion to knot the game at 21.
With four minutes left on the clock, Judge mustered up their final well executed drive mixing in both the run and two nice pass completions by Hennessey to John Donahoe (11 yards) and Tim Mills (25 yards). Thompson, out of the wildcat scored the game winner from five yards out sealing the game for the Crusaders.
After the game Crusader Coach Tom Coyle immediately gave credit where it was due. “ Our Defensive coaches put together a nice game plan by moving LB Steve Owens to defensive end to keep number 8 (Mornhinweg) at bay. It revolved around keeping him in the pocket as much as possible.” Coyle also had a good feeling about his team’s preparation this week. “This was the best week of practice this team has had in a couple of years. The guys were ready to go.”
Offensively, Judge had to make do without the services of leading rusher Raul Quinones, when he suffered an apparent hip pointer in the first quarter. Myers filled in admirably with over 100 well earned yards and put the Crusaders in position to win the game. He appeared to run harder in the second half while nursing legs cramps. Said Myers, “I knew I needed to step up when Raul got hurt. I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip by. I just felt my adrenaline rush during the fourth quarter. We all wanted this so bad.”
Judge, now 5-0 will next take on Roman Catholic, (who lost to LaSalle this week) in another battle of conference foes. St. Joe’s, now 1-4 has faced the toughest schedule to this point in the state and still is very much in the hunt when they take on Archbishop Ryan.
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