Bro. Neal’s Chat with Coach Bonis 2023 #8: Rummel Review, John Curtis Preview

October 26, 2023

Chat with Coach Bonis #8: Rummel Review, John Curtis Preview

by Brother Neal Golden, S.C. (CJ ’57)

"Last Friday night, Brother Martin jumped out to a 14-0 lead against Rummel in the first half but gave up nine points late in the second quarter.

The Crusaders drove 77 and 65 yards for touchdowns. The first score came when QB Seth Dazet rolled right and launched a beautiful pass that arched over the head of the Rummel defender to sophomore WR Rex LeBlanc, who scampered untouched into the end zone. The second score came at the end of a long drive on a 1 yard run by HB Jordan West, who led the Crusader rushers with 75 yards in the game.

Coach Mark Bonis, did we hit Rummel with something they didn’t expect to jump in front? 

“It was our best combination of executing both run and pass all year. Maybe that took them by surprise. We mixed up our tempos – fast, slow, huddle, no huddle.

“The first touchdown came on a sprintout pass out of a run formation that we executed beautifully. The lone receiver made a double move to get open. They were aware of our tendencies. So we changed what we did out of that formation and backfield set. They bit on it and gave up the touchdown.”

The Raiders answered with a touchdown and a field goal to cut the margin to 14-9 at halftime.

The first score was set up by a low snap in punt formation that Rummel recovered at the Martin 26. RB Jaidyn Martin found a crease into the end zone from there to make it 14-6 with 4:09 left in the half.

After the Raiders pounced on another Crusader fumble, this one at the BM 43 with just 30 seconds left until the break, Christopher Wallace kicked a 41 yard field goal as time expired. Rummel had all the momentum heading to the locker room,

Coach Bonis, what happened after taking the 14-0 lead? “Offensively, we lost focus and didn’t play within our offense after that. We were very intentional in those first two drives, but we weren’t as intentional the rest of the first half. That put our defense in a bad spot.

“The momentum snowballed. The bad snap put the defense in a bad spot and led to a touchdown. Right before the half, we put the ball on the turf. The defense held them to a field goal. We couldn’t continue to make mistakes like that playing a talented team like Rummel.”

Backed up deep in their territory after a punt with four minutes left in the third quarter, the Crusaders regained the momentum on a beautiful 91 yard pass and run from Dazet to freshman WR Easton Royal. Brother Martin 21 Rummel 9.

Coach Bonis: “Easton has the potential to be one of the best receivers we’ve ever coached. Being on the field as a freshman in this league says a lot about him. He ran a tremendous route and, after he caught the ball, he made several moves. The play wouldn’t have been successful without the tremendous protection by our offensive line.”

Martin seemed to be in control of the game midway through the fourth quarter when they burned over five minutes off the clock before punting with just 5:08 to play.

“But we gave them some chances. We seem to make things exciting.”

The resilient Raiders marched down the field to the 17. QB Generald Buggage threw a pass to Martin, who spun away from a defender into the end zone. That made the score 21-16 with just 1:56 left.

“We were trying to take time off the clock (after going ahead by 12). We did more run-pass-options but didn’t allow the quarterback to throw the ball because of how well our defense had been playing. We were trying to do the same thing we did against Holy Cross the previous week. Put the nail in their coffin by running the football. We moved on down, then put the ball on the turf. It was our 13th fumble this season. That’s more than six seasons of fumbles for us in years past. That electrified their sideline.”

Recover the onside kick, Crusaders, and you seal the victory. Instead, the hard kick bounced off a receiver, and Rummel recovered on the BM 49. Still, there wasn’t much time, and the Raiders needed a touchdown, not a field goal.

That consolation changed on the first play. Buggage launched a deep pass to sophomore WR Earnest Richardson, who made a spectacular catch on the five! The Crusaders are letting this game slip through their fingers!

“It was an incredible throw and catch to put the ball at the five. It’s tough for the offense there because vertical stretching of routes isn’t possible. Rummel had to have a touchdown. I still felt good with the way our defense has played all year. We really did a good job with our backs against the wall.”

After an incompletion, Buggage ran a keeper to the two, but a holding penalty set the Raiders back to the 15. Then a false started cost them another five. The defense dumped Buggage for a 6 yard loss to set up a do-or-die fourth down. The Crusader forward wall flushed him out of the pocket, and his desperation pass on the run fell incomplete.

Crusader fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Final score: Crusaders 21 Raiders 16

The Crusaders face defending state Select Division I champion John Curtis Friday night at the “Shrine on Airline” (the former Zephyr Field). The Patriots are 5-2 with losses to two teams the Saders have defeated – Holy Cross and Rummel.

“The Patriots return most of their offense from last year. We’re not going to touch the ball much offensively because they shrink the game by what they do on offense.

“Defensively, they’ve given up points to explosive teams. But when they put everything together as they did in their 28-0 victory over Acadiana, you can see how good they can play.

“We have to be efficient with the football and have success against them in situational football. We must be successful on third down and in the red zone.

“They will be motivated to give Coach J. T. Curtis the national record for victories at the high school level.”

The Crusaders are #2 in the LHSAA Select Division I power rankings. “We’re hoping to finish in the top eight so we can secure a bye in the first round of the playoffs. We have 18 guys injured right now, and they’re all contributors. I’d love to have the extra week to get four or five of those guys back.”

Be there Friday night to root the Crusaders to a crucial victory on their march to the playoffs."

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