Crusaders roll to 4th victory

Mattanawcook's Greg Hand, (36), tries to run past John Bapst's John Ashman, (66),  in the first half of their game Friday, Sept. 25, 2009.
Bangor Daily News/Michael C. York
Mattanawcook's Greg Hand, (36), tries to run past John Bapst's John Ashman, (66), in the first half of their game Friday, Sept. 25, 2009. Bangor Daily News/Michael C. York
Posted Sept. 26, 2009, at 2:15 a.m.
John Bapst's Bill Wetherbee, (22), can't get his hands on a pass under pressure from Mattanawcook defensive back Derek Gardner, (30),  in the first quarter of their game in Bangor, Friday, Sept. 25, 2009. 
Bangor Daily News/Michael C. York
John Bapst's Bill Wetherbee, (22), can't get his hands on a pass under pressure from Mattanawcook defensive back Derek Gardner, (30), in the first quarter of their game in Bangor, Friday, Sept. 25, 2009. Bangor Daily News/Michael C. York

BANGOR, Maine — The John Bapst Crusaders continued doing Friday night what they’ve been doing through the first month of the 2009 football season.

The offensive line continued to control the line of scrimmage, the defense made most positive yardage hard to come by and the big-play players made big plays.

As a result, the Crusaders are still unbeaten with a 28-8 victory over Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln at Cameron Stadium.

The air might have been chilly and crisp, but only the crisp part applied to the 4-0 Crusaders’ players as — aside from one drive in which they committed three straight penalties and four total — they heated up early and never cooled down.

After forcing the Lynx to go four downs and out on their opening possession, Bapst marched 60 yards in six plays — the biggest of which was the last. Quarterback Shane Hass faked a handoff to a back up the middle, kept the ball, broke to the left and raced 49 yards for a touchdown on his first carry.

Four MA plays and 73 seconds later, it was John Bapst tailback Bill Wetherbee’s turn for a highlight as he took the handoff up the middle, cut left and sped through the gap created at left tackle for a 55-yard TD run to make it 14-0 with 6:47 left in the first quarter.

Bapst made it 21-0 with 4:24 left in the half as Hass capped a seven-play, 48-yard drive with a 36-yard touchdown pass down the right side to Adam Leadbetter.

“Penalties really hurt us on offense and mental breakdowns killed us defensively,” said MA coach Dave Hainer, whose Lynx are now 2-2. “When you play a team that’s the defending state champ and the class of our league, if you fumble the ball, make penalties and give up big plays on defense, it doesn’t leave a lot of room.”

The Lynx committed 11 penalties and three turnovers.

Any second-half regrouping by MA was dashed when Bapst started the second half even faster than the first as Wetherbee bulled up the middle, cut to the right, and raced 66 yards for another TD 23 seconds into the third quarter.

“It always starts with the big purple guys in front of me,” said Wetherbee. “They pave the way.”

Wetherbee averaged a whopping 10 yards per carry en route to 130 yards on 13 carries behind tackles John Ashman and Chris Desmond, center Keith Nelson and guards Jason Pulley and Bill Stoddard.

“Those guys up front really take it personally when they hear stuff about how we’re too young or too undersized or what,” said Bapst coach Dan O’Connell. “They’re like a family and they know we can put up points if they open up holes for the weapons we have behind them.”

Hass finished with 106 yards passing and another 48 rushing.

“Our line kept their defense out of the backfield and controlled things up front for the most part and our defensive line did a great job with the line of scrimmage, too,” said Hass.

The Crusaders were without starting linebacker Grady Hayes, who came down with the flu Friday, but didn’t miss a beat as junior Jake Leonard filled in solidly with two hours’ notice.

“We played a new defense tonight where I pinched in at end and being small, I was a little worried about that, but I tried to use my speed to get by the tackle and get after it,” said 5-foot-8, 165-pound linebacker Fred Lear, who was in on two tackles for losses and two sacks.

Senior quarterback Ethan White led the Lynx with 119 yards on 25 carries and accounted for MA’s only score with a 17-yard TD run and two-point conversion reception from Pelkey in the fourth quarter.

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