Friday, 25 September 2009 00:00
The 10-year-old Hicksville Crusaders learned a great lesson the morning of Sept. 20: all of the hard work that they have put in over the past month has paid off.
With temperatures in the mid-70s and a sea of orange and black circling John Walker Field, the Elmont Cardinals arrived to battle the Hicksville Crusaders.
In the first quarter, behind the blocking of Hicksville’s Sam Lipien, Tom Fleming, Alex Pierce and Sean Lewis, the Crusaders drove the ball deep into Elmont’s territory but unfortunately fumbled. When the Cardinals took over, Hicksville’s Nicholas Delaney, Julian Franco and Stephen Ketelsen took turns stopping Elmont’s offense, forcing them to punt. Franco returned the punt for a Crusader touchdown.
On the next series, because of Hicksville’s vociferous defense, the Cardinals were unable to produce a first down and eventually fumbled. Early in the second quarter, Hicksville’s Stephen Ketelsen took a hand off and dashed outside for a 36-yard touchdown run.
The Cardinals followed with their best drive of the game and scored their first touchdown. Just before the end of the half, Elmont tied the game with an interception and runback for the score.
In the second half and with the score knotted at 12-12, the Crusaders forced their way down the field. Hicksville’s Connor McPartland got his first tally of the game while quarterback Peter Capel completed a pass to T.J. Delfino for the extra point.
Elmont refused to quit and, on the ensuing kick off, scampered 65-yards for another score. On the next series of downs, and with the Crusaders showing no signs of panic, Hicksville’s Alex Parciak and Connor McPartland fought their way to Elmont’s 16-yard line. Julian Franco took it the rest of the way to make the score 25-18 in favor of the home team.
Extraordinary defensive performances by Ryan McBride, Tay-Veon Johnson, Nick Austin, Vincent Barretta, Joe Sarni, Sean Lewis and George Krauch played havoc with Elmont’s offense and the high-flying Crusaders scored again in the fourth quarter. Connor McPartland took it upon himself to chew up the clock and yardage and seal the 31-18 victory with his second touchdown of the game.
This year, three rookies on the 10-year-old Crusaders team, Vincent Barretta, George Krauch and Matt Zwickel have impressed their coaches and teammates not only with their poise and confidence but also with their natural ability. This trio is a welcome addition to this year’s squad.