Bergen Catholic football bounces back with dominant win over DePaul

It took a quarter, but Bergen Catholic overcame last week's loss to Don Bosco. Once the Crusaders got rolling, there was nothing DePaul could do to stop them.

Bergen Catholic bunched 28 points into the second and third quarters and rolled on to a 35-7 defeat of the Spartans to right their ship just in time for two crucial games in the next two weeks.

DePaul had 8:35 in possession time in the opening quarter, holding Bergen to just seven offensive plays and 10 yards. The malaise wore off and the Crusaders scored on their next four possessions over the second and third quarters.

It began with a 6-yard touchdown run by Saeed St. Fleur, and after a DePaul missed field goal, they went up 14-0 on a pass from Dominic Campanile to Quincy Porter. They needed just one play on the next possession, as St. Fleur took a screen pass and found wide open space on the way to a 71-yard catch and run touchdown.

Campanile found Jack Comeau for a 13-yard scoring pass on the third BC play of the second half and after a Christian Gonzalez interception they ate up 7:46 of clock spanning the third and fourth quarters, with St. Fleur picking up the final five yards around right end.

DePaul averted the shutout on the final play of the game, with freshman quarterback Derek Zammit, in for an injured Patrick Grusser, finding Blake Thomas with a 31-yard touchdown pass.

What it means

For Bergen Catholic (5-1), it is the lead-in needed with St. Joseph and St. Peter’s Prep coming up after an off week next week. It was important that the Crusaders regain some of the swagger that got knocked off in the Bosco loss. Now, it remains to be seen if they can avoid a similar downfall as they travel the road toward a state championship.

DePaul drops to 1-4 but is still in a position to attain all the goals set before the season. All four of the Spartans' losses have come outside of their division, so they head into a two-week stretch of in-division games against Hudson Catholic and Pope John in which they can try to eclipse the division and strengthen their postseason position.

Oh, brother

A lot of the bally-hoo heading into the game was the Campanile factor, with BC head coach Vito taking on DePaul head coach and younger brother Nick for the first time.

“I hate this game,” Vito said afterwards. “It’s great to win but it’s not great. I mean, there’s really no joy in going up against each other, especially because Nick and I are so close. We had that great run together at Westwood (Nick was Vito’s offensive coordinator) and we have such an amazing connection.

“I know everyone gets caught up in the Campanile Bowl stuff, but for us, it’s nothing like that. I’m glad it’s over and we both can get back to doing what we do. DePaul is a young team and they’re going to be really good the next couple of years, so I’m happy for Nick in that respect.”

Grusser goes down

With nine minutes left in the third quarter, DePaul lost starting QB Grusser. He got hit as he was releasing the ball and went down hard, staying down for a few minutes before getting to his feet and walking off under his own power.

It appeared to be a head injury of some degree, and after the game, he was still being looked at by the Spartan training staff. His status for next week will be determined over the course of the next few days.

In his place came Zammit, making his varsity debut against the formidable Crusader defensive front. He got sacked by DJ Samuels on a hit that sent him flying backwards, but he showed poise under fire in the second half.

Turning point No. 1

DePaul came in with a game plan to try and shorten the game by time of possession and field position. It worked in the Spartans' favor for the first quarter and at the onset of the second quarter, when a Luke Monteyne punt was downed at the Bergen Catholic 3-yard line.

On the first play, Campanile hooked up with Porter on a back-shoulder throw on the right sideline that Porter adjusted to for a 26-yard gain. The next play was a 13-yarder to Christian Carti. The drive appeared to stall, but Vito went for it on fourth-and-2 from the Spartan 48, and Samuels ran for six and a first down. That led to St. Fleur’s first touchdown and sent the Crusaders off and running.

Turning point No. 2

After the missed DePaul field goal, Bergen faced a third-and-9 right out of the shoot. Campanile found Logan Casey in the flat and he split two defenders and turned it into a 30-yard gain. That set up the Porter TD catch and the 14-0 BC lead.

“I thought that was a key moment for us,” Vito said. “It was also a big confidence booster for Logan; he made a nice play there and from that point we had everything working.”

By the numbers

Bergen Catholic finished with a 395-253 advantage in total yards, with 232 of them coming in the second quarter. St. Fleur ran 14 times for 97 yards and had 2 catches for 76 yards while Samuels picked up 34 yards on 4 carries. Casey (4 catches, 55 yards), Porter (3-71) and Carti (2-14) had multiple catches. Campanile was 8 of 11 for 138 yards passing and Duffy was 4 of 4 for 90 passing yards. Sydir Mitchell and Kaden Irby-Mason each had two sacks as the Crusaders recorded six as a team.

Grusser was 14 of 20 passing for `130 yards before exiting and Zammit was 6 of 8 passing for 105 yards in his debut. Anthony Almeida had 29 rushing yards on 9 carries. Thomas (8 catches, 121 yards) and De’zie Jones (8-67) led the receiving corps, with Keaon Jenkins adding three catches for 30 yards.

They said it

“I guess we got their wrath in this one. We were right there into the second quarter, but when we missed the field goal and when they got off the goal line that really changed everything. We’ll lick the wounds and come back next week looking to get going. We still have opportunity and we’ll put this one behind us." – Nick Camapanile

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Bergen Catholic NJ football bounces back with win over DePaul