Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Paladins Champs

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Paladins Champs

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD -- Steve Shanley got lost in the shadows of Jabrill Peppers and the Wildcat offense down the stretch this season.

But when it mattered most, the Paramus Catholic junior quarterback rose to the occasion.

Shanley threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Tyrone Washington with 1:16 remaining Friday night, capping a wild fourth quarter and giving the top-seeded Paladins a 37-34 victory over No. 3 Bergen Catholic in the Non-Public Group 4 title game before an announced crowd of 9,072 at MetLife Stadium.

The win avenged a Thanksgiving loss to their Big North United Division rival, giving the Paladins (10-2) their first state title since 1997.

"A lot of people stopped believing in us, but we never did," Shanley said. "We kept faith. We kept total belief, even when we fell behind."

Shanley completed 7 of 8 passes (his one incompletion was a spike) for 138 yards, two touchdowns and two two-point conversion passes.

"On that last play, I got great pass protection and just shot it out there," Shanley said.

"It was a straight go-route," Washington said. "I felt really confident because it was one-man coverage and the cornerback was smaller than me. Steve threw a great pass, and everything went right."

The Crusaders (8-4) tied the game, 21-21, with 2:44 remaining in the third quarter. A PC pass interference on fourth down kept the 15- play, 77-yard drive alive, and senior quarterback Jon Germano capped it off with a 12-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open A.J. Gallagher.

The Paladins continued to make things difficult for themselves on Bergen Catholic's next drive. They were called for three pass- interference penalties, including one on a fourth-down play, and the Crusaders took full advantage.

Bergen Catholic took its first lead of the game with 6:56 remaining as senior running back Johnny Sebastian scored on a 5- yard run to make it, 28-21. …

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