When it clicks in the trenches, prepare for showtime.
Behind a superior effort up front, Noah’s arc was on full display for the Crusaders. Junior backup quarterback Noah Davis threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns, leading St. Bernard’s to a 35-19 Little 4 win over South Fork Friday night.
The outstanding pass protection allowed Davis to guide the team to 28 second-quarter points. During that span, he connected with six different receiving options as he finished 14 of 24 with no interceptions. Davis filled in for starter Patrick Allen, who shifted over to another position before getting hurt.
”We have the luxury of having two quarterbacks,” said St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin. “One gets hurt, and another can come in. Our staff is very confident in Noah Davis.”
The confidence came in the form of a variety of routes from streaks (Logan Thrap’s 30 and 45-yard back-to-back catches) to screens (Jack Rice’s 68-yard catch-and-go) put forth at Davis’ disposal.
”We don’t have a weak spot in our wide receiving corps, and I really thought the key was freshman Jack Rice filling in that fifth spot,” Tomlin said.
Yet, while the Crusaders boast a mantra of “Boom T Swagger,” it was the Cubs who brought the bang early.
Fleet-footed tailback Troy Langley took South Fork’s first play from scrimmage 57 yards to the house on a power run giving the Cubs a 6-0 lead.
Going left, then streaking back to his right before breaking out to his left again, Langley torched the Crusaders’ defense for an 86-yard gallop, 12-7 South Fork.
”Troy had a couple of outstanding runs,” South Fork head coach Andy Olsen said. “He’s arguably the fastest, if not the best, running back in the league. He’s a playmaker and they were keying on him. They had two to three guys on him every time and he’s still good enough to make things happen.”
Tomlin was equally impressed. “He’s a heck of a player,” Tomlin said of Langley. “He’s the fastest kid I’ve coached against. Once he gets a seam, he’s gone.”
But, just as quickly as Langley disappeared to the Crusaders defense, so did the trench work for the Cubs.
”They were very aggressive,” Olsen said of St. Bernard’s. “They fly to the ball and our guys tonight weren’t sustaining their blocks. We had plays where five of our linemen were spectators and our QB is fighting for extra yards.
”Joey (Wittlake) is a good runner, but it’s hard to gain a yard with seven defenders tackling you.”
The Cubs dominated in the trenches early, but the Crusaders claimed and sustained it and that was the difference.
Behind a wall of green, Davis was able to pick apart the South Fork secondary.
Thrap finished as St. Bernard’s leading receiver with four catches for 97 yards and a score. Rice hauled in five passes for 93 yards, and Oscar Pimentel generated 53 yards on five pull-ins.
Defensively, Daniel Kortus’ penetration - he had two sacks - was the tip of the Crusaders’ long spear. Time and again Crusaders defenders met Cubs in the backfield.
Case in point: After Langley’s 86-yard gallop, he had 146 yards on four carries. He finished with 134 on 10.
Cubs’ quarterback Joey Wittlake did not fare any better, finishing 3 of 13 for 31 yards and an interception. Cole Moody finished second in the rushing department with six carries for 68 yards, and Dylan Phelps-Harding churned out 46 yards on 10 carries. His six-yard run with 1:38 left to play was the final touchdown of the evening.
St. Bernard’s and South Fork close out the regular season at their respective home fields next week.
The Cubs draw the Ferndale Wildcats Friday night - tied for 1st place in the Little 4 with St. Bernard’s - while the Crusaders get a resurgent Hoopa Valley Warriors squad Saturday afternoon.
PHOTO COURTESY OF HOLLY SAVOIE
Cubs from left to right Justice Sherman No. 65, Dylan Phelps-Harding No. 33, Cole Jacinto No. 73, Danny Savoie No. 17, Cole Moody No. 34, and Garrett Wiley No. 74 in action against St. Bernard’s.