Eagles cap off trilogy of wins in thrilling fashion

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by Peter Scamardo
Eagle Staff

Twenty seconds. That was all that remained. Twenty seconds to move the ball and try to score.

Twenty seconds to keep the streak alive and get out on top.

Twenty seconds, no more, no less.

Following four quarters of hardship and struggle, the Eagles found themselves facing a two-point

deficit to their arch rivals Strake Jesuit.

The Eagles offense had been sputtering all night, players were dropping balls and drives were ending

with no points gained.

“All in all we moved the ball out of some dicey situations, close to the goal line,” head coach Tim

Fitzpatrick said. “We were able to make our first downs and keep their offense off the field.”

“Just a lot of self-inflicted drive killing mistakes, penalties, dropped balls, penalties are a real

problem. But the one shining light is we didn’t turn the ball over, with the exception of turning over

on downs,” Fitzpatrick said.

The defense meanwhile was as stout as ever, forcing the Crusaders to punt the ball away eight times

and giving the offense a chance to win the game.

“We’re making our opponent work for it,” Fitzpatrick said. “The defense bent but didn’t break, we

gave up one big play which could have been the difference, but we try to minimize the big plays and

make our opponents march the field.”

That one big play was a fourth down touchdown pass from Zach Zubia to Christian McStravick in the

second quarter. This led to Jesuit taking the 7-3 lead, which would remain the score for most of the

game.

“The game was very intense because it’s Strake and it’s a huge rivalry and since the game was close

the whole time it made it even more intense,” junior quarterback Michael Keating said. “It was

frustrating because as an offense we thought we could score a lot more, but we had a lot of mistakes

and penalties.”

As the clock continued to click, the student section continued to worry that the Eagles might not be

able to pull it out.

A field goal would have cut the deficit to one point but it fell short of the posts.

The seemed-to-be game-saving drive started with a ridiculous, Johnny Manzielesque third-down

scramble deep in Eagle territory.

On the following third down Keating was in the midst of being sacked by three Jesuit defenders.

Keating was able to ditch the pass off to Champion who proceeded to rumble to the three yard line.

Two plays later the Eagles had willed themselves to the one yard line with two minutes to go. But it

would not be so as Strake held on for the goal line stand.

The Crusaders rejoiced, and the Eagles sideline was stunned. While it seemed inevitable that the

Eagles would take the lead on this goal-line stand, the stars were not aligned.

The defense was again able to hold Jesuit to a three and out. The Crusaders elected to take a safety

allowing a safe kick off.

With twenty seconds remaining, junior David Jones returned the kick to the fifty yard line with only

fourteen seconds to go.

Keating delivered a strike to wide receiver Landon Malouf, who caught the ball in stride, hurdled

defenders and recieved key blocks from junior William Heck and junior Drew Guidroz, resulting in

stumbling into the endzone, giving the Eagles the lead with :04 remaining.

“When Landon scored, it was unreal because we were expecting to just get in field goal range and

spike the ball to kick the field goal,” Keating said.

Despite a failed point-after conversion the Eagles stopped the Crusaders on the kickoff and the game

was over.

The Eagles had escaped Crusader Stadium with a victory for the second time in three years.

For the second year in a row a senior class will graduate from St. Thomas without having ever lost to

Strake Jesuit.

 

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