March 24, 2018
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Crusaders finish off two-day victory over Mattanawcook Academy

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
John Bapst High School's Brad DeCessere (right) celebrates as he scores a touchdown past Mattanawcook Academy's Matt Murray during the second quarter of the game in Bangor Friday evening.
By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — It began on a picture-perfect late summer evening and ended 16 hours and 30 minutes later in muggy late-morning conditions that followed a significant rain shower.

The bodies were still sore and achy from the night before.

The John Bapst High School Crusaders and Mattanawcook Academy Lynx of Lincoln had Friday night’s game at Bangor’s Cameron Stadium suspended when the lights went out with 9:51 remaining in the fourth quarter and John Bapst holding a 25-6 lead.

So, in front of 101 spectators, they returned to finish it at 11 a.m. and John Bapst’s Jake Moore promptly burst 49 yards on a counter play for a touchdown on the resumption’s first play and the Crusaders finished off a 38-6 victory.

“What’s a better deal than 10 minutes of free football right before lunch,” quipped John Bapst athletic director Rick Sinclair.

“I guess it’s like playing a cricket match,” said John Bapst senior quarterback Deven Romain referring to the sport that can take up to five days to complete.

Sinclair said a work crew would be at Cameron Stadium on Tuesday to try to determine why the lights went out Friday night.

Romain was one of the pivotal figures in the season-opening triumph as he completed 17 of 30 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns.

“Some of our guys were falling asleep while putting their equipment on before the game today. I can’t imagine Lincoln not being tired,” said Crusader senior back and defensive end Max Andrews, who had a team-high five catches for 62 yards.

“The soreness didn’t bother me it was the tired legs and tired arms and the dead feeling in your body,” said fleet-footed MA sophomore quarterback-safety Trysten Pelkey, who turned in an impressive performance by completing 11 of 28 passes for 102 yards and running for 93 more on 11 carries including a 23-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter.

The Lynx returned home at 11:30 Friday night and had to leave at 9 Saturday morning to return to Cameron Stadium.

“We had a good push in the third quarter last night but we didn’t click as well this morning,” said MA two-way tackle Brady House, one of just seven seniors on the Lynx roster. “I don’t want to make excuses but it did have a huge affect on us today. I know it did.”

“It was tough but you’ve still got to power through it,” said MA two-way junior end Ryan O’Hara.

Moore said Romain told the team in the huddle to begin Saturday’s resumption “let’s punch this in right now and get this over with. And we did.”

Counter plays were highly successful for the Crusaders against the Lynx and Moore’s run highlighted that success.

“We had two linemen pulling in [tackle] Kurt Massey and [guard] Nick Jordan and I had the privilege to run behind them. They made great blocks and opened up a huge hole that you could have driven a truck through,” said Moore.

Andrew Catlin capped the scoring with an 85-yard TD jaunt with 1:12 remaining.

Senior wide receiver-free safety Matt Murray provided the two highlights of Saturday’s action for MA with a pair of scintillating kickoff returns, one for 52 yards and the other for 29 yards.

Coach Danny O’Connell’s Crusaders built a 25-0 lead on Friday night.

Brandon Blustajn recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and, three plays later, Romain hit Catlin on a four-yard slant-in pattern.

“I faked to the side to throw the cornerback off and Deven threw a perfect ball,” said Catlin.

Bapst made it 13-0 on its next possession as an eight-play, 61-yard march was capped by a 32-yard pass from Romain to Moore on a fourth-and-five, hitch-and-go pattern.

“I sprint down the field and stop and if the safety bites, I turn up the field and keep going and Deven throws it over the safety,” explained Moore. “Deven set me up perfect for it.”

A nine-play 69-yard drove culminating in Brad DeCesere’s 16-yard run made it 19-0 and Andrews put an exclamation point on the half with a spectacular one-handed catch on a 30-yard TD pass from Romain.

“Deven threw it over my head so I had to readjust and tip it back to me with my left hand,” said Andrews.

“They’ve got a lot of weapons and if you put yourself out of position, they’ll hurt you. That’s what happened today,” said MA assistant Pat House on Saturday. House was filling in as the head coach for David Hainer, who couldn’t attend Saturday’s resumption because he was at his sister Angela’s wedding in Cape Elizabeth.

The Lynx were also without standout fullback-defensive end Tyler Langley, who had a family commitment according to House.

Bapst was minus linebacker-back DeCesere, who suffered a mild concussion on Friday night.

The Lynx were able to move the ball fairly successfully thanks to Pelkey but they hurt themselves in the red zone (inside the John Bapst 20 yard line) with a variety of mistakes like costly penalties.

“You’ve got to focus and perfect [your execution] when you get the opportunities (to score) because you aren’t going to get many of them,” said House.

Catlin finished with 135 rushing yards on five carries to go with his three catches for 29 yards. Moore had four catches or 63 yards and he carried the ball twice for 58 yards. Linebackers O’Donnell, DeCesere, Jordan and Moore had solid defensive games as did Andrews and safety Austin Spencer.

Cody McDonald complemented Pelkey’s performance with a game-high six receptions for 47 yards. He also completed a 10-yard pass to O’Hara, who had three catches for 35 yards. O’Hara, Langley and tackles Nick Haynes and Brady House led the Lynx defense.

Mattanawcook (0-1) 0 0 6 0 — 6

John Bapst (1-0) 13 12 0 13 — 38

JB — Catlin 4 pass from Romain (kick failed)

JB — Moore 32 pass from Romain (Catlin kick)

JB — DeCesere 16 run (kick failed)

JB — Andrews 30 pass from Romain (kick failed)

MA — Pelkey 23 run (kick failed)

JB — Moore 49 run (Catlin kick)

JB — Catlin 85 run (kick failed)

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