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Spartans Upend Crusaders

Box Score

Oct. 28, 2017

Spartans Upend Crusaders

On Friday, the Lorne Park Spartans clinched a playoff spot with a 44-7 victory over the Mount Carmel Crusaders.

It was the most complete performance of the season for the Spartans, dominating the game from the opening kickoff against a tough Crusaders team.  While Lorne Park did allow a special teams touchdown, their defense didn't surrender a single point for the third time in five games, and the offense exploded with a season-high six touchdowns.

The opening kickoff was a harbinger of things to come for both sides as Mount Carmel's short kick took a fortuitous hop into Salmon Causer's arms before he slashed untouched through the coverage team all the way down to the Crusader 20-yard line.  On third and goal from the 10, the Spartans settled for a Luke Tejerina field goal to take the lead 3-0.

The Spartans got the ball back a minute later, stuffing Mount Carmel on third and short.  After a long run from RB Jakob Page, QB Christian Smodis wasted no time, hitting WR Will Manko in the endzone for a 26-yard touchdown.  Tejerina's conversion attempt sailed left leaving the Spartans up 9-0.

On Mount Carmel's ensuing drive, Spartans DE Cal Duncan came flying around the edge and forced a fumble, recovered by LB Noah Tauskela.

Smodis then hit Manko again for a 19-yard gain before connecting with WR Ryan Di Florio on a 23-yard touchdown pass, putting Lorne Park up 16-0 in the first quarter.

The Crusaders were forced to punt the ball away on their next possession following a Luke Tejerina sack on second and long, and a good return from Lorne Park's Sam Mackenzie set the Spartans up with yet another short field.

On second and 10 from the Mount Carmel 40, Smodis called his own number and weaved through the Crusader defense for a 20-yard gain.  Page picked up 10 on the next play, and RB Frank Mensah capped off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run, and a 23-0 lead.

Immanuel Onyemah fielded the ensuing kickoff at the 25-yard line, bounced it out to his right and went 85 yards untouched to put the Crusaders on the board, now training 23-7. 

The momentum would continue for Mount Carmel.  With the Spartans facing a second and long from midfield, the Crusader defensive line turned up the heat as DT Marquis Munroe registered a sack, forcing what would end up being Lorne Park's only punt of the day.

Mount Carmel QB George Kotselidis then hit WR Stephen Wise on back to back passes, and found WR Nathan Longley for another first down.  The Crusaders would eventually settle for a 19-yard field goal attempt, but the ball drifted wide right, and Lorne Park's Chris Haggart brought it back out of the endzone to the Spartans 20-yard line.

With under three minutes left in the first half, Smodis connected with Page for 33 yards, WR Jared Benson for a short gain, and then rolled out and found Manko streaking up the sideline for a 63-yard score.  The Spartans would go into the half leading 30-7.

With the clock left to run, the Spartans kept the ball on the ground, scoring on their only two possessions of the second half.  RB Jakob Page found the endzone midway through the third quarter, and Smodis sealed it, scrambling into the endzone from three yards out to start the fourth.

The Crusaders drove the ball well on all three of their second half possessions, with Kotselidis connecting consistently with Longley and Wise.  Unfortunately for Mount Carmel, a sack from DT Wade Wyndham ended the first drive, a tackle for a loss from Cal Duncan ended the second, and they simply ran out of time on the third.

Christian Smodis finished the game 6-11 for 164 yards and three touchdown, adding three carries for 24 yards and a touchdown on the ground.  Will Manko had three receptions for 107 yards and two touchdowns, while Jakob Page had 101 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown.

For the Crusaders, George Kotselidis had a solid outing, going 10-15 for 116 yards.  Nathan Longley had five receptions for 39 yards, with Stephen Wise adding four catches for 72 yards. Immanuel Onyemah led all Mount Carmel rushers with 23 yards on 11 carries, and contributed an 85-yard kickoff return touchdown.

The Spartans wrap up the regular season next Thursday in The Cage against the St. Thomas Aquinas Cardinals, having already secured a playoff spot, while the idle Crusaders need a David Suzuki loss or tie against the St. Roch Ravens to do the same.