Brother Rice wins Pulaski Road Super Bowl, makes a defensive statement

No. 4 Brother Rice’s 40-21 win at No. 12 Marist on Friday in the Pulaski Road Super Bowl wasn’t just a big rivalry win. It was a statement to the rest of the state that things may have changed.

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Brother Rice’s Luke Niksic (2) and Sean Kinard (12) stop Marist’s Ryan Sims (4) from catching a pass.

Brother Rice’s Luke Niksic (2) and Sean Kinard (12) stop Marist’s Ryan Sims (4) from catching a pass.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Brother Rice has a state championship caliber offense. That’s been clear for most of the season. Quarterback Jack Lausch, running back Aaron Vaughn and a talented group of receivers has been piling up points for two months. 

All the question marks have been on the other side of the ball. The Crusaders’ defense allowed an average of 46 points in games against Loyola, Mount Carmel and Joliet Catholic. 

So No. 4 Brother Rice’s 40-21 win at No. 12 Marist on Friday in the Pulaski Road Super Bowl wasn’t just a big rivalry win. It was a statement to the rest of the state that things may have changed. 

“I’m proud of [the defense],” Lausch said. “Proud of the way they fought and persevered through everything. That’s what they do. They had a great performance and will keep building on that.”

The RedHawks (6-3, 0-3 CCL/ESCC Blue) jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. But then the Brother Rice defense buckled down. 

“[The defense] had a talk and it was up from there,” Crusaders defensive back Dameon Hall said. “We stayed together. Everyone did their job, no one was selfish and we came out with the victory.”

Hall and Sean Kinard each had interceptions in the third quarter. The Crusaders (7-2, 2-1) were solid against the run for most of the game, limiting Marist running back Jaylen Johnson to 27 yards and speedy quarterback Dontrell Jackson to -3 yards. 

“We haven’t had our group of guys the whole year,” Brother Rice coach Brian Badke said. “We’ve had some injuries. We are finally getting healthy and they are playing better together and getting good at the right time.

Jackson, a Coastal Carolina recruit, was 14-for-28 for 248 yards with two interceptions. Johnson scored two rushing touchdowns and Alonzo Manning scored one in the first quarter on a 37-yard run. 

Laush was fantastic again, as he has been in all of Brother Rice’s marquee games. He opened the third quarter with an electric 70-yard touchdown run. 

“That play was made by our receivers blocking on the edges,” Lausch said. “That’s their touchdown. I just ran on the green grass.”

Lausch was 14-of-18 passing for 189 yards and one touchdown. He connected with seven different receivers. Junior Owen Lyons had four catches for 47 yards. 

Lausch was also a force on the ground with 19 carries for 164 yards and three touchdowns. Vaughn had 16 carries for 85 yards.

“[Lausch] is a great football player,” Marist coach Ron Dawczak said. “He can run, he can throw. We wanted to make him work for it tonight and he made some big plays. That long touchdown kind of set the tone in the second half. I tip my hat to him. A lot of great teams have had a hard time stopping him.”

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