St. Peter’s Prep scored on a 27-yard Tahj Bullock-to-Jelani Mason touchdown pass with 24 seconds left to beat Bergen Catholic in front of a hostile Bergen Catholic crowd on an unseasonably warm day.
First Quarter: Amar Gist intercepted for Bergen Catholic on BC’s 36, setting up their first score a 34-yard run by Ryan Butler. The key play on the drive was a 19-yard pass from Andrew Boel to Joe Aniello on third-and-8. St. Peter’s Prep came right back going 72 yards on eight plays, going ahead, 7-6, when Paul Lefkowitz scored on a 1-yard run. Prep forced a three-and-out for Bergen and went 73 yards on ten plays, scoring on another Lefkowitz 1-yard run, three minutes into the second quarter. The score was set up on the previous play when Bullock connected with Sha’zir Sullivan for 28 yards.
Second Quarter: Bergen tied the game when Boel found Pierson Tobia for a 31-yard score. Once again, Prep moved down the field, unobstructed, going 70 yards on eight plays, the last a 27-yard score from Bullock to Byron Shipman. Jordan Morant took the ensuing kickoff 76 yards for the touchdown and their two-point conversion succeeded and the Crusaders took the lead, 22-21.
Third Quarter: The team exchanged punts twice, setting up Prep to go ahead. After running successfully in the first half, Bullock turned to the air on this drive, completing 3-of-4, connecting with Mason for a 23-yard touchdown late in the quarter to go back in front, 27-22.
Fourth Quarter: Bergen had a drive that stalled at midfield and were forced to punt. Prep moved the ball and could have extended their lead, but a fourth down Bullock pass for a probable touchdown pass went off the hands of Zyeiar Miller. BC took over with 6:17 left and moved down the field, scoring on a screen from Boel to Gist of 9 yards. Butler ran in the conversion and the Crusaders were up, 30-27, with just under two minutes remaining. After two incompletions and a 14-yard sack by AJ Longo put the Marauders on the 14, facing a fourth-and-24. Bullock was up to the challenge, connecting over the middle with Mason who raced to the left sideline to the 50 and was hit late by two BC defenders, giving them the ball on the 35 with 1:08 left. A 10-yard completion to Cody Simon gave them a third-and-2. Bullock found Mason down the left seam for a 27-yard touchdown with 24 seconds left. A last-ditch Bergen try ended with Prep recovering a fumble as the clock ran out.
St. Peter’s Prep -7-14-6-6-33
Bergen Catholic – 6-16-0-8-20
BC – Ryan Butler, 34-yard run (kick blocked)
SPP – Lefkowitz, 1-yard run (kick good)
SPP – Lefkowitz, 1-yard run (kick good)
BC – Boel to Tobia, 31 yards (Gist run)
SPP – Bullock to Shipman, 11 yards (kick good)
BC – Morant, 76-yard kick return (Boel to Aniello)
SPP – Bullock to Mason, 23 yards (pass failed)
BC – Boel to Gist, 9 yards (Butler run)
SPP – Bullock to Mason, 37 yards (conversion failed)
Summary: Perp had a big day on offense, gaining 401 yards of total offense. Bullock was 15-of-24 for 225 yards passing and rushed for 93 yards. Lefkowitz gained 49 yards and rushed for two touchdowns. Prep, as a team, rushed for 176 yards. Mason had seven receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner. All this production came from the line of tackle Isaiah Wright, guard Evan Scribner, center Aidan Monteiro, guard Masin Cobb, and tackle KJ Miles. In addition, Wright is the only senior in that quintet and Marauder fans can look forward to some good line play.
It was a tough loss. It could have gone down as a good win had their defense held on the game’s last drive. When a team has the opponent on their own 14 with 4th-and-24, they have to make the stop. Ryan Butler, a sophomore, rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown. He was consistently finding lanes to gain yardage up the field and looks to have a bright future. Tight end Joe Aniello also had a productive day, catching three passes for 47 yards.
St. Peter’s Prep coach Rich Hansen: “Bullock is a special player and engineered some good drives, making good decisions. He is able to hurt a defense, running or passing. Our offensive staff put together a very good game plan. Our backs did a very good job and so did our line. Lefkowitz is a tough, blue collar kid who is faster than he looks.”
St. Peter’s Prep QB Tahj Bullock: “Our mindset was to shove the ball down their throats and our line did a very good job. We work on our two-minute drill every day. When it was fourth down on our last drive, we knew we had to play. The line held up for me. It was a team effort and we had faith.”
St. Peter’s Prep WR Jelani Mason: “We were down and I needed to make a play. Tahj (Bullock) gave me the opportunity to do it. We were backed up and the line did a great job. This was a big win; it’s our first in the division.”
St. Peter’s Prep RB Paul Lefkowitz: “Our line gave us momentum and opened some holes. All I had to do was run. This win is just a start and we need to improve next week.”