Crusaders couldn’t be stopped
There was plenty of hype surrounding the Notre Dame (Green Pond) football team after knocking off Northwestern and Catasauqua in the first two weeks of the season.
The Crusaders, despite not winning a game in 2014, continued to prove that hype wasn’t a fluke with last week’s performance against Salisbury.
Former Pius X quarterback Tre Jordan threw for 356 yards, ran for 89 more, and scored six touchdowns (four passing) that led a Crusader (3-0) offense that put up 574 total yards of offense in their 52-28 win on Friday night.
It wasn’t just Jordan who had a big night on the field. Mitch Daniel carried the ball 17 times for 84 yards and added 97 yards receiving to go with two scores, while three other pass-catchers caught touchdowns against the Falcons (1-2).
“They have athletes at every single position offensively,” Cerco said. “They have a very large, physical offensive line. Their coaching staff does a great job with them.”
Salisbury got into a quick 13-0 hole after Jordan capped a 16-play drive on their first series with a two-yard rushing score, and then finished off a nine-play possession with his first touchdown throw to a wide open Aaron Weller.
But Salisbury found its way back into the game early in the second quarter after Notre Dame finished the first 12 minutes with a 25-8 advantage in plays called.
Wideout Mason Donaldson came down with an acrobatic catch in the end zone, while being held, to break the Falcons’ scoreless drought with a 31-yard touchdown.
Jordan responded with a 59-yard strike to Destyn Woody, making it a 21-7 game after the two-point conversion, but the Falcons came right back with a seven-yard run around the left end from Devin Irwin.
Heading into halftime down 21-14 would’ve put Salisbury in a good position with the second half kickoff coming its way. Instead, Jordan recorded another rushing touchdown with just over two minutes remaining in the half, and Brett Nesfeder nailed a 29-yard field goal with just two ticks on the clock.
“21-14 at halftime is a huge difference,” Cerco said. “That was a coverage thing right up the middle. That’s the nature of playing football against a team like that. They have a lot of different options in those kinds of things.”
While Salisbury opened the half with a lost fumble, Notre Dame’s offense continued to roll. The Crusaders scored on all three of their possessions in the third to take a commanding 52-21 lead.
Tevon Weber (177 passing yards, three touchdowns) found Donaldson (132 receiving yards, two touchdowns) for a 52-yard strike early in the fourth quarter to cap Salisbury’s scoring.
“From the first two games, we knew exactly what he [Jordan] could do,” Cerco said. “What they showed didn’t surprise any of our players. They are good athletes, but we were also in position to make plays. A couple of times we were in third-and-mediums, and we had a quarterback sack but didn’t wrap up.
“In a sense it’s similar to what happened in our earlier season loss [against Saucon Valley]. We were in the right spot to make plays, but we weren’t doing the things technically that we need to do. It’s back to the drawing board to correct mistakes and correct errors.”
Salisbury certainly made its share of plays offensively. Shane Wittman led the ground game with 79 rushing yards on 10 carries; Nick Sikora had 52 more of Salisbury’s 147 rushing total. But the combination of Jordan’s skill set and countless mistakes was too much for the Falcons to overcome.
“Offensively, we were moving the football,” Cerco said. “We could get on the ground, and we were doing a whole lot of good things. And then it came down to some more errors.
“Our guys give great effort,” Cerco said. “And that’s the thing that becomes frustrating from a standpoint of we know our kids are playing absolutely as hard as they possibly can from the first snap to the last snap. It’s frustrating in a sense that we’re frustrated for them that we’re in a position that we can make plays. We’re playing hard, and they’re giving full effort for each other and the coaching staff, and we’re not there yet as a program. We just have to keep working at it. It’ll come, and we just have to get there.”