The Salem News
---- — 1. Continue playing that bend-but-don't break defense. Facing what figures to be its stiffest competition of the season, the Crusader defense needs to keep the Green Wave from consistently ending their possessions with points. Fenwick has been great on the defensive side of the ball and it's expected that Abington will try to chew up yardage and clock at the same time. Avoiding the big play while also tightening up in the red zone could be critical to Fenwick's success.
2. Make the most of the speed advantage. Fenwick has yet to play an opponent that could match its speed on the outside and, while Abington may come the closest, it's unlikely that it can consistently run with Crusader wide receivers Eric Razney and Charlie Maistrellis. If junior running back Rufus Rushins returns from injury (he remained questionable earlier this week), then Razney and Maistrellis should find even more space to operate. If Rushins is out, then Fenwick needs to find creative ways to put the ball in their speedsters' hands. The performance of Maistrellis and Razney in the kick return game could also be a major factor, as both are capable of big returns.
3. Take care of the ball. It goes without saying, but the team that wins the turnover battle in a big game almost always walks away victorious. The Crusaders have done a great job avoiding bad turnovers, a trend they'd love to see continue as they stand just one game away from a trip to Gillette Stadium and the Division 5 Super Bowl.