Bergen Catholic jumped out to a 31-7 lead in the first half and were able to do enough to hold off St. Joe’s (Montvale) for a 31-21 win in Montvale. The keys for Bergen were the running of Saeed St. Fleur and the passing of Dominic Campanile.
First Quarter: After a St. Joe’s punt, Bergen began on their 34-yard line and drove down the field. Campanile found his wide open sophomore classmate, Quincy Porter, for a 22-yard touchdown pass over the middle, their third completion on the drive. A key play was when a couple of SJR defenders jumped offsides on fourth-and-three, giving Bergen a first down at the 19. The Crusader defense forced a three-and-out, taking possession on their 37 and had a three-and-out of their own, but the punt return was fumbled by St. Joe’s and recovered by Brady Phillips on the 25. St. Fleur ran for 10 yards on the following play and scored three plays later on a 5-yard run to make it 14-0 with 43 seconds left in the quarter.
Second Quarter: Just when it looked as if Bergen was going to romp to an easy win, St. Joe’s struck back. Joey Gaston found John Forster for a 57-yard touchdown, another passing combination of two sophomores. BC came back on six plays with Campanile hitting a wide open Jack Comeau in the left corner of the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown. Two key plays in the drive were a completion to Logan Casey for 30 yards and a 29-yard run by Campanile. The Crusaders began their first of three consecutive drives on the Joe’s 42 and Jack Duffy found DaQuan Stewart for 39 yards to the 3-yard line. Campanile was tackled for a 4-yard loss on the next play by Takai Chisolm and Bergen ended up with a 24-yard field goal by Guytano Bartolomeo for a 24-7 lead. Naiim Parrish intercepted for BC on the SJR 42 and the Crusaders earned a first-and-goal on the 7, mostly by the running of St. Fleur. But the Green Knight defense stiffened and stopped a fourth down run by DJ Samuels at the 1. The Bergen defense forced another three-and-out for Joe’s, beginning their next drive on the SJR 42. Campanile found St. Fleur down the left sideline for 22 yards and Porter for 14, setting the table for a 5-yard touchdown pass to Christian Carti to make it 31-7. With second down on the 21, Gaston found Mekhi Rossignol for 70 yards down the left sideline for a first-and-goal on the 9. An offsides penalty moved the ball to the 4 and Gaston scored on the following play with 48 seconds left in the half.
Third Quarter: Midway through the quarter, Bergen was marching a pass to Comeau for 18 yards and several runs by St. Fleur. But a Jimmy Mullen sack stalled the drive and the Green Knights took over on downs.
Fourth Quarter: Gaston completed a pass to Jovon Williams for 65 yards to the 30 and passed to Donovan McKoy for a 14-yard touchdown to make it 31-21 with just under nine minutes left. The Crusaders moved to midfield, but a fumble by St. Fleur was recovered by Joe’s at their 43 with five minutes left. However, Bergen’s defense prevented further damage and the Green Knights turned it over on downs. A BC punt gave Joe’s the ball on their 12, but a last-ditch chance was stopped by Malachi Mercer’s interception on the sideline and the Crusaders ran out the clock.
Comments: It was a much different story for Bergen Catholic than three weeks ago, a loss to Don Bosco. It was a much better all-around performance, but there is still room for improvement. The Crusaders were led on offense by St. Fleur, who rushed for 158 and a touchdown on 33 carries and caught three passes for 38 yards. Campanile also had a good game, probably the best in his young career. He was 12-16-167-3 passing and rushed for 50 yards on 10 carries, while Duffy was 2-6-46 passing. Porter caught four passes for 60 yards and a touchdown, while Comeau had three receptions for 34 yards and a score.
St. Joe’s had to battle from behind the whole day and their running game was only able to gain 73 yards. Gaston was 9-19-244-2, but there were the three interceptions he threw to stop drives. The defense was beaten on the ground and through the air and it was typical of the year their defense has had.
The game did offer a glimpse to the future with sophomores Campanile and Porter on the BC offense and Parrish, another sophomore, with two interceptions on defense. For Joe’s, sophomore Gaston had his big moments and needs more consistency, while Rossignol is another sophomore who caught a long pass to set up a touchdown.