In the third quarter of Saturday’s Catholic League championship game, Brother Rice quarterback Matt Page took a late hit from St. Rita’s Eddie Randle on a 4th-and-four play. Randle drove Page back 10 yards off the sideline, prompting a rush from the Crusaders’ players and a disgruntled chant from the home crowd.
The Crusaders got a new set of downs and subsequently a new life during their improbable 34-30 comeback.
“That got my lineman fired up, they don’t like seeing me get hit,” said Page, who finished with 273 yards passing and all three of his touchdown passes to Malik Moody.
On the next play, Luke Mueller ran in a score from two yards pulling the Crusaders within 30-20 after trailing 30-14 at the half. A 2-yard run by page early in the fourth quarter and a 30-yard pass to Moody with 2:49 left would complete the comeback.
The Crusaders (7-5) will meet Simeon next Friday in the Prep Bowl at Soldier Field. The Mustangs (6-6) lose for the second time this season to the Crusaders
“They were fired up at halftime,” Brother Rice coach Brian Badke said. “We knew St. Rita was going to come out fighting to start the game.”
Tim Lombard led St. Rita with 24 carries for 229 yards and four touchdowns.
The Mustangs had one final drive to win the game but fell short at the Brother Rice 9-yard line after a sack by Brian Craft and an incomplete pass as time ran out.