This game is different.
The Bishop Fenwick football team spent the last two seasons preparing for a game like this. The Crusaders took a leap last year, moving on from a team with promise to a winning team, but this fall they have that feel — the feel of a team that knows how to win big games.
Tomorrow night under the lights of Fenwick’s Donaldson Field, the Crusaders will battle Austin Prep in an undefeated showdown that will go a long way in deciding the Catholic Central League championship.
The 4-0 Cougars surprised some with their fast start, notably their 22-14 win over St. Mary’s a couple weeks ago, but they won’t be sneaking up on Fenwick.
This group of Crusaders is battle tested. They took some shots and learned many lessons two years ago when they went 3-8. They reversed that record last year (8-3), but still learned some more hard lessons.
Now, after a 42-20 road win over Cardinal Spellman last week, it seems like Fenwick is ready to take the next step.
“We talk about this as a staff, (two years ago) we were starting to lay some groundwork. We were 3-8, but we played some great football. We were just overmatched sometimes,” Fenwick coach Dave Woods said. “Last year they learned how to win. After a bunch of down years, it takes awhile to learn and we learned how. Last Thanksgiving against Austin Prep we were down two touchdowns and we kept fighting and scored with 30 seconds left.”
Fenwick was expected to contend for the league title a year ago, but suffered a heart-breaking loss to St. Mary’s by fumbling the ball away on the Spartans goal line. They followed that with a carry-over loss to Archbishop Williams the next week before reeling off three straight CCL wins to close the year.