Brother Martin keeps winning streak alive in OT thriller over Jesuit

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NEW ORLEANS – A game that started off as a snooze fest turned into one wild ride by the end.

Jack Landry nailed a 34-yard field goal as time expired to force overtime, and Brother Martin (6-4, 4-2 in District 9-5A) managed to avoid an upset in their season finale to edge the Jesuit Blue Jays, 23-17, Friday night at Tad Gormley Stadium.

Crusaders running back Erick Lassair’s one-yard touchdown run ended the game and extended his team’s winning streak to five games but it was not without a struggle against their Catholic League rivals.

“You have to give Jesuit credit,” said Brother Martin coach Mark Bonis. “They battle every game. I have to give our kids credit too I mean they found a way to win a whole bunch of close football games which says something about our guys.”

Though the ending was thrilling, the beginning was anything but that. Neither team could muster up a sustained drive offensively until Jesuit reached the red zone late in the second quarter. Kicker Max Scheurich knocked in a 22-yard field goal with 2:16 before halftime.

That’s when things began to get interesting.

Just two plays into the ensuing possession, Brother Martin senior quarterback John Paul Pierce found receiver LJ Gilyot deep for a 59-yard score to put the Crusaders in the lead 7-3 with 1:20 before the break.

Pierce passed for 252 yards and a touchdown.

Early in the third quarter, the Blue Jays struck back when running back Michael Torry found running room to break free for a 41 yard score to put Jesuit back on top.

And then came the fourth quarter madness.

Lassair, getting the call in place of starter Chris Smith, scampered in from 6 yards out to give the lead back to Brother Martin, 14-10.

Jesuit quarterback Alex Watermeier, who has battled inconsistency this year, was nothing but steady after the Jays took over at their own 21-yard line. Watermeier completed six of eight passes for 71 yards on a drive that was finished off by a perfect 12 yard over-the-shoulder pass to Robert McMahon to put Jesuit up 17-14 with only 3:08 left in regulation.

After the teams traded punts, Pierce passed for 252 yards and a touchdown. had a strong reply to Watermeier’s earlier efforts, going 5-of-6 for 54 yards to lead the Crusaders down to the Jesuit 17-yard line. It set up Landry’s 34-yard field goal as time expired to tie it up 17-17 and force overtime.

Jesuit (2-8, 1-5) had the ball first in the overtime period but Scheurich’s 23 yard attempt sailed wide right.

Despite the disappointing result in a frustrating season, Blue Jays coach Mark Songy appreciated the game and his team’s effort.

“It’s a terrific ball game for the fans,” he said. “Great plays on both sides, mistakes on both sides I thought both teams fought real hard and I’m proud of the way our guys fought.”

Although it wasn’t their prettiest win, Bonis believes his team is one to watch in the Division I playoffs starting next week.

“We didn’t play very well last week,” said Bonis. “We didn’t play very well tonight but we’re still very young, still getting better, but the good news is we haven’t peaked yet so hopefully we can peak as we move further along into the playoffs. “

Brother Martin and Jesuit could be tough outs in the 13-team bracket.

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