READING— Bishop Fenwick head coach Dave Woods called a timeout with just under three minutes to play in the final quarter of yesterday’s Thanksgiving Day matchup against Austin Prep.
Down by eight points, Woods knew it was do or die for his Crusader bunch. Fenwick took over on their own 30-yard line and knocked out 10 beautifully executed plays to reach the end zone, then converted on the rush for an extra two points to rally for a 23-22 victory over the Cougars.
”It’s crazy because it’s hard to see that clock from where I was standing with the sun,” said Woods who earned his 100th career win as Fenwick head coach earlier this season. “With Fran (Hannon) and the athletes we have, if there’s any time left on the clock they can make things happen. We kept believing, kept fighting and kept going after it. We needed to make plays we did.”
Hannon fired off seven pass attempts on the final drive, four of which were completed for huge yardage. With 30 seconds left on the game clock, Hannon’s final pass found junior James Traversey in the end zone for a 35 yard touchdown.
”We just trust each other,” said Hannon. “I wasn’t panicking and I don’t think anyone else was either, that’s why we were able to get it done. Our coaching staff does a great job at preparing us for these type of situations.”
The Crusaders (8-3) still found themselves down by a point (21-22) after the touchdown. There was little time in between the TD and the extra point attempt, but Woods already knew he wanted to go for the win rather than try to tie it.
Only one name could be called upon to ensure the extra two points — sophomore running back Rufus Rushins. Rushins, already with a touchdown of his own earlier in the quarter, realized what this play meant to his team.
”Once we got the touchdown, I knew in my heart that coach was going to give it to me,” Rushins said of the conversion attempt. “I kept thinking in my head that I had to get this for the seniors and the win.
”I’m still a little shaken up by the outcome, I can’t believe it. It was a good win and I’m glad to see the seniors go out with this type of win.”
Fenwick put up 15 points in the final quarter to overcome a 14-point deficit.
Austin Prep (4-7) led 22-8 midway through the fourth quarter, but quick decisions and speedy plays gave the Crusaders the win they were looking for.
The Cougars jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the opening minutes of the first half, but Fenwick countered in the second half as Hannon threw an 84-yard slant pass to Charlie Maistrellis, which the speedster ran in for a touchdown. Rushins gave the Crusaders an extra two points for their halftime lead.
Fenwick ran only 20 offensive plays in the first half, but had an 8-6 advantage at the break.
”It’s crazy because we’re used to running 65-70 plays,” added Woods. “Austin Prep played a phenomenal game. Their offense is tough to stop. They just grind it out and chew up the clock, which I’m sure was their game plan heading in.”
Nick Vitale scored on a 3 yard touchdown run with 19 seconds left in the third quarter for Austin Prep. On the next drive Fenwick fumbled on the kickoff return, which resulted in a Cougar recovery and ultimately another scored to begin the fourth quarter (22-8).
The Crusaders went on to score on their final two drives of the quarter, including Rushins’ 1-yard run and the game-winning play by Hannon to Traversey.
The Cougars did their best to shut down Rushins running game, but Hannon picked up the offensive numbers finishingwith 192 yards passing, including two touchdown throws, while Maistrellis led the receivers 87 yards on three grabs.
“Anytime you win on Thanksgiving it’s great for the seniors, but it’s also momentum going into next year,” Woods said. “It’s a great win for these guys and to know that if they hang together and keep fighting — good things happen.”
Bishop Fenwick 23, Austin Prep 22
at Father Seymour Field, Reading
Bishop Fenwick (8-3) 0 8 0 15 — 23
Austin Prep (4-7) 6 0 8 8 — 22
AP- Kyle Havey 2 run (rush failed)
BF- Charlie Maistrellis 84 pass from Fran Hannon (Rufus Rushins rush)
AP- Nick Vitale 3 run (Vitale rush)
AP- Connor Duffy 1 run (Vitale rush)
BF- Rushins 1 run (Nick Bona kick)
BF- Jame Traversey 44 pass from Hannon (Rushins rush)
RUSHING: Bishop Fenwick — Rufus Rushins 9-35, Fran Hannon 6-34, James Traversey 1-3; Austin Prep — Nick Vitale 16-67, Dan Arena 13-32, Stephen Ruckley 6-17, Connor Duffy 5-15, Josh Saurman 1-8, Kyle Havey 1-2, Ryan Burke 1-1.
PASSING: Bishop Fenwick — Hannon 13-27-192-2-0; Austin Prep — Duffy 2-3-32-0-0, Nick Mulcahy 2-2-15-0-0, Vitale 1-1-16-0-0, Havey 0-1-0-0-1.
RECEIVING: Bishop Fenwick — Charlie Maistrellis 3-87, Traversey 1-35, Nick Bona 3-29, Eric Razney 4-27, Aidan Moulton 1-8, Matt Renzulli 1-6; Austin Prep — Mulcahy 2-32, Saurman 2-16, Ryan Burke 1-15.
You ought to know "The 'O' line played a heck of game for us and they have all year," said senior QB Fran Hannon. "Sometimes they don't get enough credit for it. They're the reason why we're a good team." "It's like old saying goes, 'it's better to win ugly than lose pretty,'" added Hannon. Sophomore Aidan Moulton made the tackle of the game to bring up fourth down with three minutes to play. Junior Charlie Maistrellis (of Peabody) picked off a Cougar pass attempt in the end zone, which setup Fenwick's scoring drive. Sophomore running machine Rufus Rushins finished the season with 1,302 yards rushing and scored his 17th TD of the season in the win. Austin Prep used four different QBs -- Nick Vitale, Nick Mulcahy, Connor Duffy and Kyle Havey.