By Jean DePlacido
---- — PEABODY — Seven games played ... and seven big wins chalked up by the Bishop Fenwick football team.
The Crusaders earned outright possession of the Central Catholic League title last night by beating Archbishop Williams, 42-13. In doing so, they earned the No. 1 seed heading into the Division 5 North playoffs next Friday.
“League champs has a nice ring to it,” said Fenwick head coach Dave Woods. “The way these kids ran through the league is pretty impressive, with no close games. I’ve never seen it since I’ve been here (16 years). “
Fenwick captain Nick Bona threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to lead his team to victory. Rufus Rushins ran for two scores and gained 110 yards on 11 carries to go over a thousand yards again; he now has 1,066 in just seven games.
Visiting Archbishop Williams shot out to a quick 6-0 lead after a 65-yard pass set up Kylan Philbert-Richardson’s touchdown run, but from that point on it was all Fenwick. They scored on their next three possessions and had a 21-6 lead at the half.
Rushins broke loose for a 16-yard touchdown run and Bona threw TD passes of 34 yards to fellow captains Charlie Maistrellis and 66 yards to Eric Razney.
Razney caught four passes for 100 yards, but had a rough night. He had a 70-yard touchdown catch negated by a block in the back penalty late in the first half, and later broke tackles to go all the way on a terrific punt return only to have it called back by another Fenwick infraction.
“It’s tough for any team at any level to be at the top of its game all the time,” said Woods. “We came out a little flat and played the worst first half we have all year. Razney must have had close to 800 yards of offense and was only credited with 100 because of those penalties. That punt return he had was crazy. He made so many moves and broke so many tackles ... only to have it called back.
“But we did show a nice balance between rushing and passing.”
Fenwick had the game well in hand after an impressive defensive stand on the opening drive of the third quarter. Bishops’ quarterback Anthony Rioles (who was intercepted by Matt Renzulli and James Traversey) was sacked by Rushins and Tyler Kaufman, forcing a punt, and four plays later the Crusaders were on the board again with Bona crashing in from the 3.
David Hurley recovered a fumble to set up another Crusaders’ score, and after Rushins rambled 38 yards for his second touchdown Woods went to his bench the rest of the way.
“We were able to overcome the penalties tonight, but that’s something we’ve got to fix this week,” said Bona, who completed 11-of-17 passes for 202 yards. “We have to make smarter decisions.
“We showed we can put up points, and we’ve a well-balanced team. I’ve got some great receivers to throw to and they all have good hands. We have all the speed in the world.
“This is great,” added Bona, “but we’ve got to be ready to go right from the start next week.”