Judge keeps Lincoln rivalry one-sided with 24th straight win

  • Lincoln senior QB Devon Thompkins passed for more than 1,000 yards in 2013 and is one of 17 seniors head coach Ed McGettigan will have to replace next season. BRIAN BAILEY / FOR THE TIMES

  • Off he goes: Judge wideout Arren Monteleone led the Crusaders with 18 catches this season and is one of 24 seniors the team will lose to graduation. BRIAN BAILEY / FOR THE TIMES

The heav­ily favored Fath­er Judge Cru­saders found them­selves in a battle with the Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln Railsplit­ters in the early go­ing of their Thanks­giv­ing battle.

Wheth­er it was the cold and windy con­di­tions or some strong play by Lin­coln, Judge got off to a slow start.

In the the first quarter, the Cru­saders com­mit­ted three pen­al­ties, threw an in­ter­cep­tion and failed to gain a first down.

“When the ad­ren­aline kicks in, it doesn’t mat­ter,” said Judge seni­or quar­ter­back Nick Rome, dis­miss­ing the weath­er as an ex­cuse. “We had to ad­just in the first quarter and knew we could fig­ure it out.”

Judge figured it out in the second, third and fourth quar­ters. The Cru­saders’ of­fense came alive, and their de­fense re­mained stout, and they went on to post an easy 39-0 vic­tory at the Bar­foot Bowl.

“It’s awe­some,” Rome said. “It’s great to bring a win back to Judge and the neigh­bor­hood.”

Judge fin­ished 7-4 un­der first-year coach Mike McKay.

“It was a suc­cess­ful sea­son with a new coach­ing staff,” Rome said.

Rome, a backup in the first 10 games, ran for a touch­down and threw a TD pass, and was named his team’s Most Valu­able Play­er.

“That was nice to see. He took ad­vant­age of his two op­por­tun­it­ies,” McKay said. “We had two seni­or quar­ter­backs (Kev­in Ko­vacs the oth­er) who who saw a lot of time today.”

Wide re­ceiv­er/de­fens­ive back/punt re­turn­er Zach “Pickles” El­li­ott was giv­en Judge’s Sports­man­ship Award.

Judge beat Lin­coln for the 24th time in a row and leads the all-time series 35-3-1. The Railsplit­ters have not won since 1989.

Lin­coln’s award win­ners were Taylor “West Philly” Gaines (MVP) and Donte Dav­en­port (Sports­man­ship), both team cap­tains.

“They’re great kids and great stu­dents,” said Lin­coln coach Ed Mc­Get­tigan. “We’re go­ing to miss them ter­ribly.”

Gaines in­ter­cep­ted a pass on Judge’s first pos­ses­sion and ran it back 30 yards to the Cru­saders’ 5. However, Lin­coln did not score, miss­ing a field goal.

On their next pos­ses­sion, the Railsplit­ters (5-7) drove to the Judge 1, but failed on fourth down.

“We were there in the first quarter. We got in­side the 5 twice and couldn’t score,” Mc­Get­tigan said. “We had to make the most of our op­por­tun­it­ies. We were on their side of the field most of the first half.”

Lin­coln nev­er came close to scor­ing again, as Judge notched its fourth shutout.

“The de­fense was great all year,” Rome said. “They were ready to go.”

Judge made it 7-0 when su­per sopho­more Yeedee Thaen­rat — who was out­stand­ing run­ning the ball and on de­fense — re­turned a blocked punt 30 yards for a touch­down. He fin­ished with 11 TDs on the year.

“He’s just a fant­ast­ic foot­ball play­er,” McKay said. “He can only get bet­ter.”

Late in the second quarter, Judge’s Matt Cun­ning­ham re­covered a fumble at the Lin­coln 41. Thaen­rat, who topped 1,000 yards on the sea­son, ran 35 yards to the 6. Three plays later, Rome scored from the 1, and it was 14-0 at half­time.

Judge took a 20-0 lead early in the third quarter. Matt Hartigan in­ter­cep­ted a pass at the Lin­coln 18-yard line. Three plays later, Hartigan caught a 15-yard touch­down pass from Rome.

“Matt’s a good foot­ball play­er,” McKay said.

Later in the quarter, Mar­quis Sea­mon ran for a 6-yard TD, his 10th score of the year, and it was 27-0.

In the fourth quarter, Con­nor Fo­ley kicked a 36-yard field goal, giv­ing him sev­en on the year, to make it 30-0. A safety made it 32-0, and Tim Mc­Monagle ran for a 1-yard touch­down for the fi­nal points.

The fi­nal 7:08 was played with a run­ning clock due to the 35-point mercy rule.

Judge lim­ited Lin­coln to six first downs and 67 yards of total of­fense.

“The de­fense has been our strength all year long, and they set the tone in the first quarter,” McKay said. “The front sev­en car­ried us in a lot of games.”

Judge will lose some key seni­ors, in­clud­ing about 10 whom McKay can see con­trib­ut­ing to a col­lege pro­gram.

Mean­while, Lin­coln will wel­come back standouts such as Hosea Mc­Clam, Teddy Tootle and Yusef Robertson, but will say good­bye to 17 seni­ors.

“We had a good seni­or class,” Mc­Get­tigan said. “We had a lot of three-year play­ers who will be hard to re­place.” ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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