The undefeated Foxcroft Academy Ponies found themselves in a fierce battle with John Bapst Memorial High School midway through the second quarter of their Class D football encounter at Cameron Stadium on Saturday night.
But coach Danny White’s club and its bevy of playmakers erupted for 41 unanswered points — including three touchdowns during a 73-second span at the end of the first half and start of the third quarter — to pull away to a 55-27 victory.
“We definitely came out pretty flat in the first quarter,” said Foxcroft senior quarterback Austin Seavey, who passed for two touchdowns and rushed for two more scores as the Ponies improved their record to 5-0.
“Obviously not having Caden Crocker, who’s one of our better playmakers, was definitely a down side to this game but we’ve definitely got to start better.”
Crocker, a junior slotback, was sidelined due to injury, but Foxcroft’s offensive depth showed as five different players scored at least one touchdown, with senior Jesse Drury rushing for 161 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries and adding a third score with a 41-yard fumble return.
That latter touchdown was a prime moment for a Foxcroft defense anchored by senior lineman Anthony Smith that forced six John Bapst turnovers and registered three quarterback sacks.
“We have a lot of young guys on the line but [assistant coach Max] Andrews (a John Bapst graduate) really helps us with our assignments,” Smith said. “It’s mostly just assignments, so we do what he says and we’ve really come along as a line.”
Still, a John Bapst team playing its first game on the new artificial turf in its home city on homecoming weekend at the school matched the Ponies offensively for much of the first half.
Foxcroft capitalized on a bad punt snap by the Crusaders to start its first possession of the game at the Bapst 24, and after a Seavey pass to Gideon Topolski gained 19 yards Drury scored from 5 yards out to give the Ponies a quick 7-0 lead.
The margin stood through the remainder of the period before Bapst capitalized on a minus-2-yard Foxcroft punt to take over at the Ponies’ 23 early in the second quarter. One play later, Kyle Long went the distance to make it a 7-6 game.
Foxcroft then drove 80 yards in six plays, with runs of 43 yards by Drury and 31 yards by Gage Beaudry setting up a 6-yard keeper by Seavey to make it 14-6.
John Bapst countered with a 74-yard, nine play possession capped off when Jordan Kimball passed 20 yards over the middle to Corey Butler to pull the Crusaders within 14-13 with 6:43 remaining in the second quarter.
Seavey scored from 16 yards out two minutes later to give FA a 21-13 cushion before turnovers finally caught up with John Bapst.
An interception by Gage Beaudry set up a 3-yard scoring run by Drury with 36 seconds left in the half. Then when Kimball then dropped back to pass in the final seconds from the John Bapst 23, Smith and the rest of Foxcroft’s defensive front swarmed on him, forcing a fumble that the Ponies recovered.
Seavey rolled right one play later and found Topolski in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown strike with 16 seconds to go, and suddenly Foxcroft’s lead was 35-13.
“I knew we’d definitely bounce back,” Smith said. “I didn’t think it was going to be that quick.”
The beat went on for the Ponies early in the second half, as they scored 37 seconds into the third period as Drury ripped off a 53-yard run to set up Seavey’s 15-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Cameron Chase.
On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Drury returned an errant John Bapst pitch 41 yards for a touchdown, and a Jaydon Richard interception led to a 2-yard scoring run by Beaudry that gave Foxcroft a 55-13 cushion with still 7:23 remaining in the third.
“Luckily we came out in the second and third quarters and definitely dominated, and that’s how we want to play football,” said Seavey, who completed 9 of 16 passes for 100 yards and rushed for 51 yards on six carries. “We’ve got to play that way for four quarters.”
John Bapst (0-4) added a pair of fourth-quarter scores, with an 85-yard dash by Butler setting up a 1-yard run by Kimball and Logan McMahon later picking up another errant pitch while on the run and running 14 yards for a touchdown in the final minute.