In a game that produced almost 1,000 yards of combined total offense and with the teams trading scores throughout the contest, Brother Martin, the top-ranked team in Class 5A, finally had its opportunity.
Despite five touchdowns by Brother Martin running back Bruce Jordan-Swilling, the Crusaders found themselves trailing 42-39 early in the fourth quarter Thursday night at Tad Gormley Stadium.
Jordan-Swilling’s fifth touchdown inched the Crusaders to within three points but with the way the game was going, it was just of matter of moments before Karr answered.
Instead, a fumble by Karr running back Tyrick Luckett at the Cougars’ 33-yard line put Brother Martin in position to take the lead.
For one of the few times in the game, the defense held, forcing a field-goal attempt by the Crusaders. Sam Walters’ 29-yard attempt was no good, allowing the Cougars to hold on to their three-point edge.
This time when Karr got the ball, the Cougars, the third-ranked team in Class 4A, did what they had throughout the game, coming up with a quick score. A 74-yard pass from Karr quarterback Aldon Clark to Dai’jean Dixon extended the Cougars’ lead to 49-39 with seven minutes left in the game.
Although Brother Martin would score on a 70-yard pass from Jean-Paul Pierce to Pattre’en Hughes to cut the margin to three points at 49-46 with slightly more than six minutes remaining, the Crusaders would never fully recover from the earlier missed opportunity.
As had been the pattern throughout most of the game, the Cougars added another touchdown on a 6-yard run by Santee Marshall with three minutes left to finally hand Brother Martin a 55-46 defeat.
Jordan-Swilling topped the 200-yard rushing mark by the end of the third quarter but Karr countered with a passing performance by Clark for more than 300 yards and four touchdowns.
Karr (3-0) led 14-7 after one quarter as Marshall scored twice while Jordan-Swilling countered with a 3-yard touchdown run.
Jordan-Swilling followed up with two touchdown runs in the second quarter but Karr also answered with two scores on an 11-yard pass from Clark to Anthony Spurlock and Rayce McMath’s 68-yard touchdown return following Jordan-Swilling’s third touchdown.
A touchdown-saving tackle by Devin Bush on a 70-yard run by Jordan-Swilling denied the Brother Martin running back his fourth touchdown of the first half. Instead, the Crusaders settled on a field goal to trail 28-24 at the break.
Jordan-Swilling’s fourth touchdown of the game came to open the second half as Brother Martin took its first lead of the game at 31-28.
The Crusaders (2-1) wouldn’t hold the lead for long as Karr answered with a 61-yard touchdown toss to McMath as the Cougars regained the lead at 35-31.
Another Clark to McMath touchdown, this one from 7 yards out, extended Karr’s lead to 42-31 late in the third quarter.
It was at that point that Jordan-Swilling scored his fifth touchdown to pull the Crusaders to within three points moments before the fumble recovery that Brother Martin was unable to capitalize on with the missed field goal.