Brother Martin took a wealth of playing experience into the season and used it Saturday to defeat Rummel for the first time in the past five tries.
The Crusaders have a crew of senior offensive linemen who have been starters since they were sophomores, and junior quarterback Garrett Mmahat has been a starter since he was a freshman.
All that, combined with senior running back Jaylon Spears and junior wideout Austin Jackson, gave Brother Martin much of what it needed to defeat Rummel 26-23 on a sunny afternoon at Yenni Stadium.
“It’s a great win,” Mmahat said. “Feels good. But still not satisfied. Not going to be satisfied until we reach our ultimate goal and that’s winning the state championship.”
The win snapped Brother Martin’s four-game losing streak against Rummel, a stretch that included two shutout losses in the regular season and two losses in the playoffs. Rummel also had its overall winning streak stopped at 15, a stretch that included an undefeated Division I state championship season last year.
On Saturday, Brother Martin (4-0, 2-0 District 9-5A) scored touchdowns on three of the first four possessions.
On the opening drive, Mmahat threw a 39-yard pass to senior tight end Logan Farrell on third-and-23 to set up Spears for a 1-yard touchdown run.
Mmahat completed another clutch pass to Farrell on fourth-and-12 in the third quarter that set up another 1-yard touchdown run for Spears.
“It’s trust between our guys,” Mmahat said. “We came off the sideline after that play and I told him, I threw that to you because I trusted you and I knew you were going to get that.”
Mmahat completed 9 of 16 passes for 214 yards and two touchdown passes, both to Jackson in the first half.
Jackson scored his first touchdown on a 33-yard pass when he pulled the ball from the hands of a Rummel defender as he started to come down with an interception near the goal line.
On the other touchdown, Mmahat rolled left and waited for Jackson to get behind the Rummel defense before he lofted a pass for Jackson to take the rest of the way for a 67-yard score.
Jackson finished with three receptions and 103 yards. Spears rushed 17 times for 115 yards.
Brother Martin junior Corey Lambert Jr. helped seal the win with an interception in the fourth quarter. Junior safety Austin Roberts also intercepted a pass near the goal line.
Rummel (2-1, 0-1) made a game of it with heavy contributions from running back Logan Diggs, a Notre Dame commitment. He scored all three touchdowns for the Raiders, rushing for two and catching a 6-yard touchdown pass with 2:07 remaining.
Brother Martin junior Jordan Thomas recovered an onside kick and the Crusaders ran out the clock from there.
Diggs finished with 18 carries for 136 yards. Rummel quarterback Kyle Wickersham completed 17 of 27 for 127 yards.
The other Rummel points came when junior Cameron Francioni blocked a punt through the back of the end zone for a safety that made the score 6-2.
Rummel coach Nick Monica lamented some of the more costly penalties for his team. He also referenced the ejection of one player for unsportsmanlike conduct in the second half.
“I thought our preparation week was terrible,” Monica said. “We had some selfish acts that penalized some of the team. Other guys paid for it. We just need to move forward together, keep practicing and get better.”
Brother Martin held control for much of the game for the first time this season. Previous wins against Ponchatoula, Jesuit and Tioga were back-and-forth affairs. In this one, Brother Martin never trailed.
Because of that, Brother Martin coach Mark Bonis seemed especially pleased.
“From where we started in Week 1,” he said. “I’m very proud of them.”
Brother Martin plays next week against Shaw while Rummel will face Holy Cross.
Contact Christopher Dabe at email@example.com