Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Paladins Come Full Circle

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Paladins Come Full Circle

Article excerpt

ORADELL - There were no noticeable scuffles and no inappropriate chants from the student sections. And on the field, it was no contest.

Paramus Catholic routed Bergen Catholic, 44-6, Saturday in a rematch of last year's Non-Public Group 4 title game. The schools have become white-hot rivals, and their two games last year were a big factor in the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association passing new rules on fan and player behavior.

By the end of the contest, however, most of the Bergen Catholic fans had departed. After the final whistle, multiple Paladin players climbed into the bleachers to join their fans.

"It makes me proud," Paladins coach Chris Partridge said. "Four years ago, my first year, they came to our place and put a beating on us, like 38-14, so it's really good to see how far our program has come, from 38-14 to 44-6. You do the math."

The numbers aren't pretty for the Crusaders. Their 2-7 final record represents the second-worst percentage in the program's history, and only the second time it has lost seven games in one season. The Crusaders were 1-7-1 in 1961 and 2-6-1 in 1962.

Bergen Catholic was given the option by the NJSIAA of finding an out-of-state opponent as a consolation game, but athletic director Jack McGovern was unable to find a suitable opponent. The Crusaders' season is over.

Looking back, five of the Crusaders' seven losses were close. Bergen Catholic was tied with St. Peter's Prep with under two minutes left and lost, 25-18. They gave up a late touchdown to Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas and lost, 20-17, and were coming off a heartbreaking 23-17 triple overtime loss to Don Bosco. A win in any of those games likely would have put them in the playoffs.

"Pretty much outside of St. Joe's, I think we could have won every game that we played in," Bergen Catholic coach Nunzio Campanile said. "Maybe not today, but I think under different circumstances we might have played a little better today."

The first half was a show for Paladins star Jabrill Peppers who scored four touchdowns in three ways to help PC take a 28-6 lead at the break. The most thrilling had to be his one-handed interception off a tipped pass and 48-yard return with eight seconds left in the half. …

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