ARLINGTON — Arlington Catholic football coach Serge Clivio knew it would take a big play, an early lead and a lot of luck to beat Bishop Fenwick last night.
Through the first quarter, that’s exactly how it went for the host Cougars.
Eventually, the Crusaders wore down their Catholic Central League foes, however, and pulled away for a 46-14 victory at Pierce Field.
Junior running back Rufus Rushins ran for 186 yards and three touchdowns and senior quarterback Nick Bona threw for 122 yards and two touchdowns while also running for 84 yards and another score.
So far through three games — all Fenwick victories — the Crusaders have scored 141 points, the most to start a season in program history.
The high-scoring Crusaders found themselves facing a quick deficit last night. On the first play from scrimmage the Cougars ran a reverse option pass with wide receiver Matt Wesoloski connecting with a wide open Matt Richardson for a 78-yard score.
Fenwick answered with Rushins’ first TD, but Arlington Catholic (1-2) capitalized on an interception, adding another touchdown for a 14-6 lead.
“We needed to shake it up and see if we could make something happen. It worked to precision, so it was a good way to start the game,” Clivio said. “It gave us a little excitement, a little hope.
“We stayed in it for awhile, but we’re just young and inexperienced and we’re not physical enough to stay in there with a bruising game.”
It was a tough start for the Crusaders, but they stuck with their game plan and kept punishing Arlington Catholic with Rushins and Bona.
Rushins scored all three of his touchdowns in the first half on runs of 3, 20 and 3 yards. His third touchdown gave Fenwick the lead for good midway through the second quarter.
By the time halftime hit, Rushins had already produced 119 yards, but Fenwick head coach Dave Woods wasn’t pleased with his team’s performance, even though they led 26-14.
“That was the talk at halftime,” Woods said about some of Fenwick’s sloppy plays. “Championship teams don’t do things like that. I think the kids came out a little more focused in the second half. That’s the difference between being a real good team and being a championship team.”
Fenwick did show its ability to spread the ball around.
In addition to Rushins and Bona, Arlington Catholic got a taste of Charlie Maistrellis and Eric Razney. Maistrellis had three catches, 56 yards, one TD and a 44-yard punt return that set up points for the Crusaders.
Razney, meanwhile, finished with four catches for 56 yards and the backbreaker — a 32-yard touchdown catch early in the third quarter to give Fenwick a 33-14 lead.
“They’re multi-faceted, but my biggest fear wasn’t Rufus, and that’s no disrespect to Rufus because he runs unencumbered,” Clivio said. “You get guys and you can drag him down. It’s going to take awhile and you might get lucky, but the speed on the outside is a huge threat if you don’t pay attention to it. They have three guys who can get the ball in their hands and are dangerous, and obviously with Rufus you can just pound it and keep pushing the pile and wear you down.”
Bona scored on a 7-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, and backup running back Robert Carrillo broke an 80-yard touchdown run with under four minutes to play.