Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Instant Classic!

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Instant Classic!

Article excerpt

MONTVALE -- Mark it down. Just three weeks into the 2012 season, the Game of the Year has been played.

How else could one describe the intensity, the wild momentum swings and dramatic ending that saw St. Joseph, the so-called "Third Wheel," knock off Bergen Catholic, 38-37, in overtime Saturday?

"I am going to go on record: This is the greatest game I have ever been [a part of]," said St. Joseph coach Tony Karcich, who has well over 30 years in football cleats.

You think that is good?

Even the losing coach, Bergen Catholic's Nunzio Campanile, found a moment to reflect on the 48-plus minutes of incredible football he just witnessed.

"This is as good as it gets, obviously, we wished it ended differently," Campanile said. "It's one of the best high school football games I have ever been in."

For the first time in this long-standing rivalry, the game went to overtime. That alone was astounding seeing as how the Green Knights dominated early and led 21-0 midway through the second quarter.

What followed was a comeback for the ages that saw the Crusaders rally for 22 straight points between the second and third quarters. The Green Knights stemmed the tide with a field goal, then Crusaders defensive end Kurt Holuba forced a Green Knights fumble in the end zone to forge a tie at 24 with 9:14 to go.

Then you start talking about moments using Capital Letters.

There was The Strip by Green Knights junior Mark Fossati, taking the ball away from Crusader quarterback Jon Germano and running it back 80 yards for a score.

Then there was The Stand as St. Joe's defense held Bergen out of the end zone after it had first-and-goal at the 8.

Then came The Drive as Germano took the Crusaders 33 yards in four plays capped by a 16-yard dart to JJ Kulcsar with 1:10 remaining.

Campanile had gone for two earlier in the game after a St. Joseph penalty, but after the Kulcsar touchdown he had Ryan Rose come in for the extra point.

In overtime, there was The Pass as St. Joseph quarterback Spencer Aukamp found Quai Jefferson across the middle for a 25-yard touchdown.

"I usually look for Ricky [Jeune], so I was looking for Ricky all the way, but I saw the safety over the top and I knew I had Quai coming underneath," said Aukamp, oddly calm amidst the postgame mayhem. …

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