Crusaders Deliver a Solid Victory Against Morton Ranch

Jay West ‘20

The Strake Jesuit Fighting Crusaders came out of the gate firing on all cylinders last Saturday night.

The game began with the stout Jesuit run defense holding Morton Ranch to a three and out. After getting good field position on a bad Maverick punt, the Crusaders were able to score in less than 30 seconds on a 44-yard Michael Wiley ’19 touchdown run. Less than two minutes later, the Crusaders scored again on a 62-yard reception by Nathaniel Beal ‘19. After a quick  14-0 lead, Strake Jesuit’s QB Michael Hansen ‘19 advised the team to keep up their urgency. However, the Crusaders let their guard down and allowed Morton Ranch to halve the lead with a 32-yard touchdown pass. The Crusaders were able to respond with a beautifully executed two-minute drill that ended in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Hansen to wide receiver Lynn Ashby ‘18 and entered halftime with a commanding 21-7 lead.

The second half was led by the Crusader’s run defense and Michael Wiley. The run defense was stellar all night by limiting explosive plays on the ground. It was led by Michael Jewett’s (‘18) 13 total tackles and Jett Bush’s (‘19) 12 total tackles. On the Crusader’s 3rd drive of the second half, Wiley took a screen pass to the house for thirty yards to extend the lead to 28-7. At this point, it seemed the game was in the hands of the Crusaders; however, the Morton Ranch Mavericks maintained their persistence. Despite the consistent pass rush from Miles Adams ‘18, the Mavericks were able to go 60 yards off a slant route to the Crusader’s one yard line. Three plays later, the Mavericks scored a touchdown on a fade to the back of the endzone to make it 28-14. After a quick stop by the Maverick defense, The Morton Ranch offense was able to drive down the field with a series of quick pass plays, and score on another fade pass to cut the Crusader’s lead to seven points with 3:50 left in the fourth quarter. All of the sudden, the Crusaders were in danger of blowing their 21-point lead, but Michael Wiley refused to let that happen. On the first play after the Maverick touchdown, Wiley took a handoff for 70-yards to the Morton Ranch 5 which set up the 1-yard touchdown pass to Sean Mowatt-Larssen ‘18. This touchdown iced the game for the Crusader’s by making the score 35-21 with less than two minutes to go. The Mavericks were able to score their last touchdown in garbage time, making the final score 35-28.

My MVP for this game was Michael Wiley ‘19. Wiley was able to have his way with the Morton Ranch defense, using his elite vision, speed and catching ability to gain 202 all-purpose yards and 2 touchdowns. Also, Wiley’s 70 yard run in the fourth quarter helped ice the game.

On a side note, the football game was attended by Strake Jesuit alumni Louis A. Le Blanc ‘66, Larry Mason ‘66, and Greg Guarino ‘72. When asked the main difference between the Jesuit football team of 1966 and today’s Jesuit football team, Mr. Le Blanc responded, “Today’s team is a lot bigger and faster than we were.”

Overall this game was a strong showing for the Crusaders. The run defense looked solid, and on the other side of the ball, the Crusader running game looked even better. The Crusaders will look to carry their momentum versus the Tompkins Falcons on Friday for the Strake Jesuit homecoming game.