By Robert Cole
The St. Francis Prep Terriers took advantage of a late fourth quarter turnover to get a 28-21 win over their neighborhood rivals from Holy Cross in the 2018 “Battle of the Boulevard” football game Sunday afternoon at Martin Van Buren High School Field.
“It feels great to get this win,” Prep’s junior quarterback Omarion Jones said. “I knew my teammates would pick me up and play their hearts out. We just had to keep playing.”
Jones, who played the better part of the fourth quarter with an injured leg, continued to pick himself off the ground to lead his team to victory.
“He’s a warrior,” Prep coach Richard Carroll said. “He took some hits and got back up. In this game, nobody was going to keep him down, he was going to fight to get back in there and that is the type of player that he is, tough as nails.”
Prep went ahead early when Nazareth McFarlan opened the scoring on a two-yard run with 4:19 remaining in the first quarter, giving the Terriers a 7-0 lead.
Holy Cross cut the lead to 7-6 with 3:56 left in the second quarter on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Michael Henglein to cap a 69-yard drive. A blocked extra-point try kept St. Francis in front.
Each team scored to tie the game at 14-14 headed into halftime.
St. Francis Prep took the second half kickoff and drove 57 yards in 8:19, but the Holy Cross defense ended the drive on the eight-yard line, aided by a holding call that brought back a touchdown and kept the score tied.
The Knights took the lead on a 65-yard pass from Henglein to John Breaubrun, who outran the St. Francis defense for the score as Holy Cross went up 21-14 heading into the final period.
The Terriers had another touchdown called back on a holding penalty in the fourth quarter, but then the penalties started to go their way as Holy Cross took a defensive pass interference penalty to keep a late drive alive. The Terriers managed to tie the score with 4:44 to play on a seven-yard touchdown run by Aubrey Mitchell.
The game looked destined to go to overtime when, with 4:44 in the fourth quarter, Henglein threw an errant pass that was picked off by Nicholas Parfair on the Knights’ next possession, giving the Terriers the ball at the Holy Cross 20-yard line with an opportunity to take the lead.
St. Francis Prep took advantage of the Holy Cross miscue, scoring on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Aubrey Mitchell, who got behind the Knights defense for a wide-open game winning reception with 28.4 seconds left on the clock.
“Today win says a lot about our team’s drive and tenacity; their will to win,” Carroll said. “This is our Army vs. Navy game, our Ali vs. Frazier of Francis Lewis Boulevard, the players refused to not come out on top, they fought their hearts out and we are proud of them.”
“It’s a shame that in a game like that there has to be a loser, but at the end of the day, we are happy to be on the top end,” he added.