Northeast Times

Judge returns from Ireland with dominant win

Seni­or quar­ter­back Ry­an Mack­iewicz was key in Judge’s 34-14 win over Coun­cil Rock South. BRAD LAR­RIS­ON / FOR THE TIMES

Start­Frag­ment

In foot­ball, it’s al­ways a good thing when your op­pon­ent emerges from a con­test vis­ibly be­wildered after a thor­ough thrash­ing. 

That’s what oc­curred Fri­day night in New­town, Bucks County, after Fath­er Judge High School, fresh off its re­turn from Ire­land, dis­mantled Coun­cil Rock South 34-14 in front of a dis­pir­ited home crowd.

The lop­sided fi­nal score was mis­lead­ing, be­cause it wasn’t even really that close.

“I thought our guys up front did a tre­mend­ous job,” Judge coach Tommy Coyle said. “They did great work from start to fin­ish.”

The Cru­saders (1-1), play­ing their first game since los­ing their sea­son-open­er out­side Dub­lin, Ire­land, one week earli­er, were fa­cing a squad that reached the PI­AA Dis­trict One Class AAAA fi­nal last fall.

Al­though sev­er­al of Rock’s key play­ers have gradu­ated since then, this was still a very im­press­ive vic­tory against a qual­ity op­pon­ent.

It also provided some re­venge.

“I’m not go­ing to lie. I came in­to the game mo­tiv­ated by what happened last year,” said seni­or two-way tackle Vince LoStracco. “That was def­in­itely in the back of my mind.”

He was re­fer­ring to Judge hav­ing blown a two-touch­down lead in the fourth quarter to Coun­cil Rock South, and then, fail­ing to con­vert a two-point con­ver­sion in­side the fi­nal minute, thus end­ing with a bit­ter 35-34 loss.

This time around, the Cru­saders star­ted early and nev­er let up. Nev­er once was there a feel­ing that Coun­cil Rock South (0-2) would find a spark to ig­nite an over­sized crowd that was quiet from the open­ing kick­off.

“I loved it,” LoStracco said. “It was great to get that off of our back.”

On the third play of the game, sopho­more run­ning back Samir Bul­lock took a han­doff and sped 70 yards for a touch­down. One quarter later, seni­or quar­ter­back Ry­an Mack­iewicz con­nec­ted with seni­or Max Pas­cav­itch on a six-yard strike to double the Cru­saders’ ad­vant­age head­ing in­to half­time. The second touch­down drive was mas­ter­ful, as the Cru­saders held the ball for just un­der eight minutes and, dur­ing the 80-yard march, con­ver­ted four first downs.

Dur­ing the half­time talk, Judge’s coaches chose not to talk about what happened against this par­tic­u­lar op­pon­ent a year ago. In­stead, they con­cen­trated on the present.

“They just re­minded us that we had to keep play­ing the same game we did in the first half,” said seni­or nose guard Dan Toner. “We were beat­ing them up front and we were do­ing ex­actly what we planned to do. No reas­on to do any­thing dif­fer­ent.”

Rock coach Vince Bedesem ad­mit­ted later that his team “needed a big play to turn things around.” In­stead, it was Judge that ex­ecuted what sev­er­al op­pos­ing play­ers col­lect­ively de­scribed as a back­break­er.  

On the second play of the third quarter, Bul­lock car­bon-copied his earli­er touch­down jaunt. This one trav­elled “only” 57 yards, and Judge’s ad­vant­age swelled to 20-0.

Rock avoided a shutout later in the third quarter, but Judge answered with a 20-yard touch­down sprint by Mack­iewicz to make it 27-7. Coun­cil Rock trimmed its de­fi­cit to 27-14 in the fourth quarter, but Judge’s sub­sequent drive ended when Mack­iewicz sneaked in­to the end zone from the one-yard line.

Bul­lock tried to de­flect the boun­ti­ful  plaudits after the game. Start­ing in place of in­jured ju­ni­or Mar­quis Sea­mon, Bul­lock’s ca­reer-best per­form­ance in­cluded an astound­ing 252 yards. Like Coyle, Bul­lock com­pli­men­ted his block­ers, and for good reas­on. The of­fens­ive line per­form­ance of ju­ni­or Tom Bay­er at cen­ter, LoStracco at right tackle, sopho­more Dan Sipps at right guard, ju­ni­or Jim Galasso at left guard, seni­or Shane Murphy at left tackle, as well as seni­or Al­bi Ar­apaj at tight end, cre­ated open­ings all night long.

On de­fense, front line­men Toner, tackle Bay­er, and ends Ar­apaj and ju­ni­or An­thony Galasso hal­ted most run­ning at­tempts im­me­di­ately. When Rock was able to move the ball, line­back­ers Joe Nig­ro (ju­ni­or), Brandon Spatz (seni­or), and Kyle Douglas (seni­or) were there to mop up.

The Golden Hawks amassed 210 yards on the ground — 67 of which came on one play — and com­pleted only one pass for 15 yards.

“This is how we need to play when we play our Cath­ol­ic League games,” Toner said. “We have a lot of very tough games against qual­ity op­pon­ents, so the Coun­cil Rock game was a great prac­tice test. We were fo­cused and wouldn’t have taken a loss lightly.”

Next up for Judge is State Col­lege High School, who the Cru­saders de­feated on the road last year.

“They’re go­ing to be a good test,” Coyle said. “We’re ex­cited to play them. We have the at­ti­tude that we will play any team any­time.”

Toner said that is the “type of at­ti­tude” that “helps get us psyched to play every week.”

“We be­lieve in ourselves,” Toner said. “It’s a great way to be.” ••

You can reach at jknebels@gmail.com.

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