NEW YORK – Bergen Catholic coach Nunzio Campanile didn’t have much to be proud of early. But by the end of the game, was most proud of the fact that his team proved they bend but don’t break. Bergen Catholic survived a first half and included four turnovers to defeat Friendship Academy of Washington, D.C., 48-32, Saturday at Jack Coffey Field at Fordham University in the Bronx in the first game of the State Pride Challenge.
“I think when you play a schedule like this and you’re battling every week, its never going to go according to plan each week and it just didn’t,” Campanile said. “I think our kids showed what they’re made of a little bit as far as bowing their back and finding a way to get it done.”
BC saw junior quarterback Jonathan Germano fumble twice and threw an interception to Friends Academy’s 6-4, 315-pound superstar defensive Eddie Goldman, who returned the pick 20 yards for a touchdown. That score came in a spurt that saw Friends score three times in two minutes and take a 26-14 lead with 3:33 left in the first half. Bergen Catholic appeared to still be reeling from last week’s loss to top-ranked Don Bosco.
But Germano shrugged off the first half the same as his team, using eight different receivers to finish 24 for 37 for 348 yards and five touchdown throws. BC also scored two hug defensive plays that sealed the game. Senior Ryan Kelly, in his first game at safety, forced and recovered a fumble that led to Germano’s 37-yard score to Kyle Queiro for the go-ahead score that gave BC a 34-32 lead in the third. Senior Charles Wingate, in his first game at safety, forced an interception with 7:45 left to play.
In the second game of the tripleheader, St. Peter’s Prep (4-2) outlasted a tough Youngstown Ursuline, 31-21 led by senior quarterback Brandon Napoleon. The teams played even football for three quarters, with St. Peter’s taking a 17-14 edge into halftime after Liam Gilmore’s 25-yard field goal with 2:33 left in the first half.
“We played hard in the second half,” St. Peter’s coach Rich Hansen said. “We didn’t necessarily play great. But we played hard and I think that’s what got the end result for us.”
St. Peter’s also capitalized on opportunities. After Ursuline’s Chris Durkin missed a 29-yard field that would have tied the score at 17, Napoleon went to work. First, he connected with senior wide receiver Chris Callinan for a 38-yard reception across midfield that put the Marauders on the 30-yard line. Then he converted a fourth down strike to J.R. Robinson to keep the drive alive before finding Callinan again for a 7-yard touchdown score that put a lid on the game.
“We had to pick and chose our spots throwing the ball but when we did we were effective,” Hansen said.
Napoleon completed nine passes for 110 yards but the offense was paced by Jared Crayton, who rushed for 136 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns.