Judge concludes whirlwind season with win

One-sided: The Fath­er Judge Cru­saders held strong onto their strangle­hold of the Thanks­giv­ing rivalry with Lin­coln, win­ning 41-0. It was Judge’s 23rd con­sec­ut­ive Thanks­giv­ing vic­tory over the Railsplit­ters. BILL ACHUFF / FOR THE TIMES

The Fath­er Judge Cru­saders star­ted the foot­ball sea­son by fly­ing to Ire­land for a Labor Day week­end game and ended it by walk­ing back to school along Row­land Av­en­ue after an over­whelm­ing vic­tory over Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln on Thanks­giv­ing.

Den­nis Boice rushed for 93 yards and three touch­downs to help Judge shut out Lin­coln, 41-0.

The Cru­saders fin­ished 3-6 against a tough sched­ule, bat­tling in­jur­ies along the way.

“In­jur­ies hurt us. We had a lot of key play­ers go down. But we’re happy to fin­ish the way we did,” Boice said.

Boice, a seni­or strong safety and run­ning back, was named Judge’s Most Valu­able Play­er.

His team­mate and fel­low res­id­ent of Cresco Av­en­ue, Al­bi Ar­apaj, earned the team’s Sports­man­ship Award. A seni­or tight end, Ar­apaj caught a touch­down pass, break­ing a tackle en route to a 53-yard score. He fin­ished with three catches for 96 yards.

“We’re happy. We took a couple of lumps dur­ing the sea­son, but we were con­fid­ent com­ing in. We ended it the right way, and that’s all that mat­ters,” Ar­apaj said.

The Lin­coln win­ners were Khalil “Duke” Walk­er (MVP) and An­drew Galla­gh­er (Sports­man­ship).

Judge leads the series 34-3-1, in­clud­ing 23 con­sec­ut­ive wins.

Head coach Tom Coyle cred­ited his team with per­sever­ing dur­ing a sea­son that in­cluded a one-point over­time loss to ar­chrival Arch­bish­op Ry­an that kept the Cru­saders out of the play­offs.

“That’s what makes us a good foot­ball team, our stick-to-it-ive­ness,” he said. “We played mis­take-free foot­ball today. To score forty-one points in a half is not an easy task.”

Lin­coln (4-8), which al­lowed 375 yards rush­ing and gained just 22 of its own, hasn’t beaten the Cru­saders since 1989.

“Their run­ning game killed us,” said head coach Ed Mc­Get­tigan.

The game was com­pet­it­ive for the first quarter, when Boice’s 1-yard run and a Brandon Spatz two-point con­ver­sion run made it 8-0.

Judge, though, ex­ploded for five touch­downs in the second quarter. Spatz rushed for a 20-yard TD out of the Wild­cat form­a­tion. Boice ran for scores of 72 and 1 yards. Quar­ter­back Ry­an Mack­iewicz threw scor­ing passes of 18 yards to Max Pas­cav­itch and 53 yards to Ar­apaj.

All of a sud­den, it was 41-0 at half­time. The 35-point mercy rule was in ef­fect in the second half, mean­ing the clock ran con­tinu­ally.

Judge fin­ished with 501 yards of total of­fense and pitched a shutout on de­fense. Spatz, Isaac Out­land, Joe Nig­ro, Sean Fitzger­ald and Steve Brooks all made in­ter­cep­tions.

“We really wanted the shutout. To­ward the end of the sea­son, our de­fense came to­geth­er. Today, we shut them down,” Boice said.

Boice had a 23-yard punt re­turn in the second quarter that set up a score. He ap­peared to have his fourth touch­down of the game early in the third quarter when he ripped the ball out of a Lin­coln re­ceiv­er’s hands and began run­ning all alone to the end zone, but the of­fi­cials blew the play dead.

Judge sopho­more run­ning back Samir Bul­lock gained 170 yards on 14 car­ries. He fin­ished the year with 1,086 yards.

The Cru­saders’ primary run­ner was sup­posed to be Mar­quis Sea­mon, but he broke his wrist in Ire­land.

“Samir had a thou­sand yards in a nine-game sea­son. That’s com­mend­able,” Coyle said. “And Den­nis is a very good back. He stepped up and helped ment­or Samir.”

Mack­iewicz fin­ished a per­fect 5-for-5 for 126 yards and the two touch­downs. He fin­ished the year with 938 yards passing, eight touch­down tosses and four rush­ing TDs. He sep­ar­ated his shoulder four months earli­er, and Coyle cred­ited as­sist­ant Mike Samuel with get­ting him ready to play.

Coyle was happy with the ef­fort of his re­vamped of­fens­ive line, adding that as­sist­ant Ca­sey Jones did a good job re­pla­cing in­jured play­ers.

Lin­coln’s Miguel Sanc­hez passed for 120 yards. His fa­vor­ite tar­get was Devon Thomp­kins, who caught five balls for 41 yards.

The five turnovers didn’t help.

“We had to play mis­take free if we wanted to have a chance, and we didn’t,” said Mc­Get­tigan, a Judge gradu­ate. “They ex­ecuted. We didn’t.”

Walk­er, Sanc­hez, Galla­gh­er, Gio­vanni John­son and John Lewis are among the Lin­coln seni­ors who will be missed. Key re­turnees will in­clude Thomp­kins, Cody Kettyle, Donte Dav­en­port and Zi­an Pad­gett.

 Mc­Get­tigan likes the tra­di­tion of the Thanks­giv­ing game and the big crowd that shows up every year. He’d like to see the Railsplit­ters move in­to the up­per ech­el­on of Pub­lic League pro­grams and be more com­pet­it­ive against the Cru­saders.

“They’re more com­mit­ted to the weight room. We have to make that com­mit­ment,” he said. “We have to hit the weight room. We have to start right now. No time off. Start be­fore Christ­mas.” ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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