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Saints battle but struggle to convert

St. Bernard Saints vs Lowell Catholic HS on 9/18/2010 1:30:00 PM
Posted Thursday, September 23, 2010 by Coach Ladyga
 MONTVILLE —

The St. Bernard/Norwich Tech football team couldn’t overcome a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter and fell to Lowell (Mass.) Catholic, 12-6, in the first-ever meeting between the schools.

The two Catholic schools gave each other a defensive battle. The Crusaders were the first team to light up the scoreboard when running back Brian Waruhiu plowed his way into the end zone in the first quarter. But from there neither team found offensive rhythm and were forced to give off a series of punts and turnovers.

That all changed in the third quarter when Saints quarterback John Rainey (9-for-21, 154 yards passing) connected on a 75-yard pass to Ryan Doherty, who, after breaking several Crusader tackles, sprinted into the end zone. A failed 2-point conversion left the game tied, 6-6.

The momentum was in the Saints (0-1) favor in the fourth quarter, but was abruptly stopped by the Lowell defense. Waruhiu then led the Crusaders back down the field into Saints territory, scoring his second touchdown of the game.

With 3:07 left remaining on the clock, the Saints needed to make a rally. But in just three quick plays St. Bernard fell into a 4th-and-8 situation. Rainey tried to toss the ball up to one of his receivers, but it soared out of bounds, turning the ball over on downs. Lowell took advantage of the time and taking a knee, let the clock run out to end the Saints’ season-opener.

“Our defense played good,” Rainey said. “The offense just couldn’t find their rhythm and couldn’t come together.”

The missed first down was a common theme for St. Bernard, which managed just three throughout the game. But after enduring a 0-10 season last year, the Saints are still in the rebuilding process.

“We only have nine seniors on the team, and both our quarterbacks are sophomores,” St. Bernard coach Sean Ladyga said.

But Ladyga isn’t making excuses.

“They were a good football team,” he said of Lowell Catholic. “We were prepared but just made some mental mistakes. They wore us down a little in the fourth, but we battled.”

 

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