PEABODY — Football is sometimes the cruelest sport.
The Bishop Fenwick football team put everything it had on the line Saturday night at Donaldson Field, even made enough plays to win its game against Catholic Central League rival St. Mary’s of Lynn, yet still somehow found itself on the wrong side of a 14-12 outcome.
The Crusaders ended both the first and second halves just a few yards short of putting more points on the scoreboard. The game’s decisive play — a lost fumble on the goal line in the final minute — made it two consecutive losses for Fenwick after five straight wins to start the season.
It may have only been its league opener, but Fenwick will now need help to contend for the CCL title. St. Mary’s (6-1 overall, 2-0 CCL), meanwhile, has clearly established itself as a league favorite.
“They played as hard as they possibly could. We prepared as well as we could,” Fenwick coach Dave Woods said. “That’s all you can ask. I gave them my John Wooden quote, which I live by, ‘The scoreboard never makes you a loser and never makes you a winner.’ There’s no way we’re losers tonight.”
Fenwick was positioning itself for a game-winning play with the clock winding down when fortunes changed.
The Crusaders, immediately after giving up a 47-yard touchdown run by Spartans’ junior running back Jordan Manthorne, traveled 54 yards in 12 plays and faced a third-and-goal from the 4-yard line. Even if Fenwick couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone, the Crusaders would at least have an opportunity to attempt a game-winning field goal.
Fenwick’s sensational sophomore running back Rufus Rushins, who earlier in the half eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in as many seasons, plowed through the line and, like he has done so many times this season, began fighting for extra yardage.