HAMILTON — On any given offensive play, Bishop Fenwick quarterback Nick Bona has at least four legitimate receivers to throw to — not to mention a lethal running game with bruising Rufus Rushins in the backfield.
The number of options the Crusaders’ offense has to work with left Hamilton-Wenham’s defenders in dismay Saturday afternoon as the visitors racked over 400 rushing yards as a team during a 54-27 victory at the Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School Field.
Rushins, who ran for 1,300 yards a year ago, picked up where he left off in Saturday’s season opener with 184 yards and four touchdowns.
“I don’t know if I expected that many points coming into the game,” said Fenwick head coach Dave Woods. “I thought it was going to be more of a 20-14 game, but either way we’ll take the win.
“We have some explosive kids for sure. I think there were a lot of mistakes by both teams in the first half, but we have guys like (receivers) Charlie (Maistrellis), Eric (Razney) and James (Traversey) that can score at any time.”
It was the second-most points ever allowed in one game by a Hamilton-Wenham team; Pentucket thrashed the Generals back in 1968, 64-6.
The Crusaders trailed Hamilton-Wenham, 21-17, at halftime, but exploded in the second half — particularly in the fourth quarter. In that final frame, they outscored the Generals 23-0 on four unanswered scoring drives to pull away for the win.
In all, the Crusaders were able to convert on six of their final seven drives; in addition to the four fourth quarter scores, Maistrellis took back a 90-yard kickoff return and Bona connected with Traversey for a 23-yard touchdown pass. Bona joined Rushins by going over 100 yards rushing (108).
“I thought we came out a little slow, but once we got the swing of things we hit the ground running,” said Bona, one of five captains for the Crusaders. “We finally got warmed up. We haven’t played a real game in nine months, but everything started clicking in the second half.”