Bergen Catholic 28 Delbarton 19
Bergen Catholic jumped out to a 14-0 lead and had to battle a Delbarton squad that wouldn’t quit before coming out with a 28-19 win.
First Quarter: Bergen had a fantastic opening drive, going 81 yards on five plays with four first downs, including a touchdown by Ryan Butler on a 19-yard run. Excluding a one-year loss on a running play, the Crusaders had a 19-yard run by Butler, followed by Steve Angeli completions to Jayden Bellamy and Santino Correa for 26 and 18 yards, respectively. BC was in great position when Jaeden Gould intercepted on the Delbarton 36, but turned the ball over on downs.
Second Quarter: The Crusaders bridged two quarters when they consumed six minutes on a drive capped off by a 2-yard Butler touchdown. It looked like BC was going to have its way, but that is when Delbarton scored on a Robert Russo touchdown pass to an open Nick Petrillo for 32 yards. The Green Wave defense forced a three-and-out that gave the offense good field position on the BC 48. It took one play when Russo found a wide open Dylan Hakes for the score. The extra point was blocked and Delbarton was within one point, 14-13.
Third Quarter: Delbarton came out with the ball and picked up two first downs by Aidan Papantonis, running and receiving. But Kaj Sanders intercepted for BC off a deflection, ending that threat. After exchanging punts, BC got moving when Saeed St. Fleur ripped off a 26-yard run. The drive was finished when Butler went 49 yards for the touchdown. Delbarton came right back when Russo completed passes to Hakes for 35 yards, immediately followed by a 46-yard touchdown to David Link, who got behind the Bergen secondary. The Green Wave went for two points, but were unsuccessful, making it 21-19 with 3:34 left in the quarter. It was time for Bergen to strike back, sticking completely to the ground and aided by a couple of Delbarton penalties, with Butler scoring his fourth touchdown with 37 seconds left in the quarter.
Fourth Quarter: BC had the ball to begin the quarter, courtesy of Gould’s second interception and drove inside the 10. Butler had what appeared to be a fifth touchdown called back by a penalty and Angeli was sacked by Chuck Nnaeto on fourth down. Bergen fumbled on their next drive and the Green Wave recovered on the BC 45, getting another chance. But a 45-yard field goal attempt which fell short with 2:25 left.
Summary: Bergen received a challenge it needed after breezing through their first two games. What kept them ticking was the running of Butler and St. Fleur, as the Crusaders primarily kept to the ground in the last three quarters. The defense did a very good job against the run, but gave up some big pass plays. Gould had two interceptions to counter some of that.
Delbarton showed resiliency and at least kept even with Bergen the last three quarters. Their defensive front made BC earn the yards they had. What hurt them was missed extra points.
Long-time head coach and current Bergen assistant coach Greg Toal has been known to say “when you miss an extra point, it’s like we didn’t even score.” Delbarton missed the extra point on their second touchdown, went for two on their third, and were forced to attempt a long field goal because they needed two scores. If they succeeded after those touchdowns, they would have needed one score; it doesn’t mean they would win, but things would have been different.