This was the game that the much heralded Jesuit Crusaders had been needing all year. A total game. Top to bottom they played a really great football game against a feisty Aloha team who tried to hang on through three quarters battling some Key losses to injury.
The early rounds of the game saw some brutal exchanges between both offense and defenses with the linemen on both teams going at it. Several plays we saw helmets pop off and some concerted efforts to pancake and dominate each other. It was in a word "savage" at times. And that is football.
Jesuit's Elliot Nissler managed the QB role really well all night and in uncharacteristic fashion the Crusaders opened the playbook and went to the air as much as they tore it up on the ground. There was balance to this Crusader attack that we have not seen for a while as Nissler hooked up with several Jesuit receivers for long and medium range receptions.
Maybe the first hint we had that this was going to be the Crusaders night was the nifty little Tight End reverse play in the Red Zone during the first quarter as massive Henry Mondeaux took a hand off cutting across the backfield after a fake dive and took the ball 11 yards to the right side for the diving TD. That was with 6:00 Minutes left in the first quarter.
Then the Crusaders rolled.
Crucial injuries to the Warriors did not help as star linemen Michael Kluge went down with a fairly severe knee injury (dislocated knee cap) and in the ensuing play starting Warrior QB CJ Eytel went down with a shoulder injury after being drilled on a 4th and long play by a swarm of Warriors.
Tyner was help to 100 yards and 2 TD's in a night where he was off the field most of the game as Jesuit methodically ground the ball up and down the field. He still impressed with several big time moves and an unbelievable kick return in which he carried half the Jesuit special teams squad 80 yards up the field. He scored two plays later.
Still this night belonged to Jesuit who had the following stand out performances:
The great thing about Aloha is that they are perhaps the best team in the State at getting back to work and regrouping. This loss as much as it hurts sets them up for a comeback against Southridge next week which if they were to win would cause a 3 way tie in the Metro League and that would lead to an Epic Coin toss for seeding.
The Warriors are blue collar kids who built their Championship Team one brick at a time. It was great to see many of their guys on the field last night shaking hands and posing for pictures with their Rivals and Friends. Tyner sat quietly for a few minutes, came by and said hello and smiled, and quietly walked off congratulating Crusaders along the way. In the final analysis this was maybe not such a bad thing. A beat down that ended up 56-13 stings. But it is the getting back up and fighting another day that fuels these guys.
No program in the State has gained so much these past few years and much of that is owed to Head Coach Chris Casey who is now coming into his final few games before heading out to be the Head Coach for George Fox College. And while he was quick to blame the Aloha staff for being out coached it was a night that belonged to the Warriors.
And if you love drama and the anticipation of a big game then this week your going to want to pay attention to the pre-game and the ensuing kick off over at Aloha where the Metro League Championship will be on the line as the Warriors host the Skyhawks in a 7:30 kick off. It's going to be great to watch!
Closing thoughts: We wish a speedy recovery to Kluge and Eytel. These guys are really a big part of the Warrior squad and it just would not be right if they were not able to return. Also it was great to see AJ Glass last night with his Crusader Team and to see him smiling apparently planning a return to the field soon for Jesuit which was in question after he broke his Clavicle a few short weeks ago. And we have to say that Aloha's Brayden Kearsley put on one of the greatest Offensive and Defensive efforts we have ever seen in the Trenches. He certainly did all he could and won most of his battles last night. One guy that we know will rally his team back in the coming days.