By Matt Jenkins
---- — HAVERHILL — Thirty three plays, 172 yards and three scores. No stops.
That was the harsh reality that faced Bishop Fenwick's defensive unit after one half of football against Georgetown Saturday afternoon at Trinity Stadium.
At that point, the Crusaders had a choice: fix the problem and walk away with their expected outcome, or continue to get shredded and watch their unblemished record sink into the turf below their feet.
Fenwick elected to rise, forcing four punts, one turnover on downs, and an interception to spearhead a 32-20 comeback victory that pushed the Crusaders' record to 4-0.
"They came out and punched us in the mouth, no question," Fenwick coach Dave Woods said. "We were just watching our defensive line and the first series we weren't following our keys, we weren't reading who we were supposed to read, and we were backpedaling. At halftime we told them to calm down, relax and play the way we were supposed to play."
One thing that was never in question was Fenwick's ability to produce points.
Even with super sophomore Rufus Rushins feeling a bit under the weather, the Crusaders moved the ball consistently well all afternoon.
Rushins spent a few extra plays standing next to Woods on the sideline catching his breath, but he still managed to run for 197 yards on 20 carries, including a 75-yard smash-then-sprint scoring play that tied the game at 20-20 halfway through the third quarter.
Georgetown also felt the sting of senior quarterback Fran Hannon's return to the Fenwick lineup.
Hannon, who missed the last two games for Fenwick, made up for lost time. The senior captain ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more. He also made all the clutch plays for the Crusaders.
Both of Hannon's TD passes came on fourth-and-goal situations, and his second touchdown run occurred on a fourth-and-goal from the 5-yard line.
That score, even though it proved to be the game-winner, may not have been Hannon's biggest play.
Trailing 20-6, Hannon led the Crusaders to a 13-play, 73-yard scoring drive in the final two minutes of the first half, hitting freshman Matt Renzulli for a 7-yard TD pass with no time showing. Hannon added the two-point conversion rush to trim the Royals' lead to 20-14 at the break.
"That was huge. That was the difference because it gave us momentum and gave us the confidence to move the ball," Woods said. "Fran was a little rusty, but when it came down to it he made some huge plays."
After that, it was all about a more focused defense and a hungry Rushins.
Fenwick's bruising sophomore back had only four carries for 24 yards in the first half, but he got 16 more touches in the second half and produced 173 yards.
"You have to commit so many people to stop him that it kind of opens up the other stuff they like to do," Georgetown coach Paul Sobelowski said. "I thought we did a good job in the first half bottling him up. Maybe if we don't let them score that last TD before the half we go in (to the locker room) with a little emotion. We kind of went into half a little flat."
Georgetown's chances to pull even late in the second half were dealt a big blow when senior quarterback Niko Edwards injured his knee.
Edwards threw for 102 yards and one touchdown and ran for 48 yards and another score for the Royals.
Hannon ended up throwing for 98 yards while hitting six different receivers, and he also ran for 43 yards. Renzulli caught three passes for 40 yards.
"I thought we did a good job, but they were 3-0 for a reason and they beat Lynnfield for a reason," Sobelowski said. "It wasn't because they weren't good."