Brother Rice downs St. Rita, grabs share of Catholic Blue title

SHARE Brother Rice downs St. Rita, grabs share of Catholic Blue title

It’s been 10 years since Brother Rice could call itself Catholic League Blue champions.

The wait is finally over.

Julian Blain caught an18-yard TD pass and rushed for a five-yard score to help host No. 14 Brother Rice to a 28-21 win Friday over a gutsy No. 15 St. Rita squad in Catholic League Blue play.

The Crusaders (6-3, 3-1) garnered a share of the Blue — its first taste since 2004 — along with Providence.

“It feels great,” said Blain, a junior receiver. “We did this for the seniors. We had to pay them back for all of their loyalty and leadership.”

The Crusaders opened up a 28-14 lead with 2:06 left in the third quarter, but could not deliver the knockout blow.

St. Rita quarterback Scott Procter scored an eight-yard touchdown with 7:42 remaining in the fourth quarter to get the Mustangs within 28-21.

The Mustangs (6-3, 1-3) had two more series to tie the game, but could drive no further than the Crusaders 41-yard line.

“We knew they (St. Rita) would keep pushing,” said Brother Rice quarterback Alex Alarcon, who finished 15 of 25 for 167 yards. “Our defense really stepped up when it counted. They worked their tails off.”

St. Rita coach Todd Kuska rolled the dice on the Mustangs first series of the game and came up snake eyes. On a fourth-and-1 from the St. Rita’s own 28-yard line, Kuska called for a fake punt, but Rice saw it coming and it resulted in a two-yard loss.

“We had a feeling something was up,” Brother Rice coach Brian Badke said. “We saw their coaches talking. It was a big play.”

The Crusaders took over at the St. Rita 26 and needed just four plays to reach the end zone when Marcus Jones (16 carries, 66 yards) barreled in from one yard out for a 6-0 lead at 6:51 of the first quarter. The PAT was no good. The score was set up by a 22-yard run by Jones.

Just 19 seconds later, Rice extended its lead to 14-0 when Greg Bernier scooped up a fumble by running back Tyre Lee at the 29 and raced into the end zone. The Crusaders converted the two-point conversion.

The Mustangs cut the deficit to 14-7 on a five-yard TD run by Lee (24 carries, 143 yards) at 11:55 of the second quarter. The score was highlighted by a 30-yard pass from quarterback C.J. Weydeman to Kurt Zeiger.

Rice, however, was able to make take a two-touchdown lead again before the half on a 27-yard TD pass from quarterback Alarcon to Blain. Matt Pikowski’s PAT kick made it 21-7 with 1:14 left before intermission.

Blain made two outstanding moves to avoid defenders and reach the end zone.

“Alex was looking at me the whole way,” Blain said. “I knew I had to score.” Procter started the second half at quarterback and provided a major boost to the offense, rushing for a TD and completing 3 of 7 pass attempts.

“I have a ton of respect for St. Rita,” Badke said. “I’m so proud of my players. One of our goals was to win the Catholic Blue and the other is to compete for a state championship.”

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