Wayne-With starting quarterback Johnny Langan out during Friday night’s game at DePaul after last week’s injury, the Crusaders looked unfazed by it all and handled business with a win over the Spartans 21-7 in front of a rowdy crowd of 3,500. The Crusaders’ record improved to 3-0 as they host Paramus Catholic on home turf next week.
Bergen’s defense seemed lethargic after the Spartan’s offense had a 8 play, 65 yard drive that chewed up over five minutes off the clocked which workhouse Vincent DePalma punched it in from the three-yard line giving the Spartans an early 7-0 lead.
But the highlight was the 1-2 combination of super sophomore Josh McKenzie and the force of Rahmir Johnson who kept the Spartans’ defense on their heels all game long. The Spartans had no answer for the Crusaders’ quick tempo offense orchestrated by the dynamic duo.
Josh McKenzie had a career high 22 carries, 140 yards with two touchdowns as the sophomore left the game in the fourth quarter with less than four minutes to play after dislocating his left elbow, according to the team’s medical staff.
“It’s a dislocated elbow, but we put it back in place, it’s no biggie. I’ll do whatever I need to do this week to be back out there Saturday afternoon at Paramus Catholic. I fell awkwardly on it, but I believe in our trainers that they’ll get me right. I’m not worried about it.” Said McKenzie.
Rahmir would not be upstage by his teammate, tied 7-7 at halftime, Johnson jump cut to the left, then to the right in front of a host of Spartan defenders hitting the sidelines with blazing speed for a game changing 50-yard touchdown on Bergen’s first possession of the second half.
The Crusaders were led by their emotional leader linebacker Shqipron Idrizi who had 10 tackles , 4 tackles for losses and a sack. Idrizi was a constant threat for the Crusaders and wanted the Spartans to know he was not going any where anytime soon.
“ This is a different team and we really love each other. We have a few young kids playing and they stepped up and accepted the challenge. My decision to come to Bergen Catholic was the best decision I made in my life. I love this team and our goal every year is to win a state championship ” Said Idrizi.
McKenzie dashed through the hole on a power play for a 14-yard touchdown that put the Crusaders up by a score 14-7 with a little more than four minutes left in the third quarter. It was McKenzie second of the night and 9th for the season.
The other half of the spectuclar duo Rahmir Johnson finished the game with 9 carries and 120 yards putting the game on ice with a late touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The real story line was the Crusaders defense, Antonio Alfano and Anthony Corbin who wreaked havoc in the Spartans’ backfield throughout the game. Pat Palmer and Corbin each had interceptions, including a pick by Palmer’s that sealed the game late with 3:05 left in the fourth with DePaul’s offense in the red zone.
These Crusaders are a new type of tough with Junior quarterback Tom Sharkey who dislocated his finger, popped it back in and came back into the game to complete 6-10 passes for 40 yards.
“ What makes this team so special and successful is that these young guys are not afraid to practice hard and step up to the challenge. I give credit to my coaches who do a great job with that. We told the team especially the defense you have to carry us until the offense catches up. We have seniors that are showing these young guys how to practice and I think that became infectious for our team and helped our team to mature.” Said Bergen Catholic Nunzio Campanile.