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10-Year-Old Crusaders Silence Thunder in Season Opener

If the 10-year-old Hicksville Crusaders continue to generate as much excitement throughout the season as they did in their first game, it will make following the exploits of these young warriors extremely exhilarating.

Once the game began, the Garden City Thunder found out very early that they would be in for a long day.

Hicksville’s Connor McPartland kicked off to begin the contest. Steve Austin and Ryan McBride helped to completely stymie Garden City’s offense in their first possession. When Hicksville’s offense took over Julian Franco, Stephen Ketelsen and T.J. Delfino ran with abandon, getting the ball to the 3-yard line. On a quarterback keeper, Peter Capel took the ball in for their first score. The Crusader defense, led by Steve and Nick Austin once again dominated the game.

Once Hicksville got control of the ball, they drove the field easily. Matthew Zwickel, Thomas Fleming, Alex Pierce, Jake Kinnaman and Steve Austin continually opened gaping holes in the line thereby allowing the backs to gain significant yardage. Before the half ended, Julian Franco took the ball 28 yards for another touchdown.

The second half featured a tenacious defense with enormous tackles by Alex Parciak, Joe Sarni, Tay-Veon Johnson and rookie safety Vincent Baretta. Stephen Ketelsen’s 35-yard touchdown run effectively put the game away just before the end of the third quarter.

As the game wore on, Coach Ketelsen refused to allow his squad to become complacent. The 10-year-old Crusaders performed like a well-oiled machine with all parts moving in perfect symmetry.

Taylor Collins, the Crusaders guard who broke his arm in a non-football incident, was named honorary captain for the game. In addition, in his honor, his teammates wore white wristbands with his No. 61 on it to ensure that although he cannot be physically on the field, his team will keep him on their minds and in their hearts for every game.