HomeNewsCrusaders make it 25 in a row against Railsplitters

Crusaders make it 25 in a row against Railsplitters

Judge junior star running back Yeedee Thaenrat finished the season with 1,457 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns. BRIAN BAILEY / FOR THE TIMES

It’s been a quarter-century since Abraham Lincoln beat Father Judge in their Thanksgiving Day football rivalry, and it’s hard to see the Railsplitters ending that skid any time soon.

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Last week, Judge again thoroughly dominated its rival.

Zack Carroll was named Judge’s Most Valuable Player, as he threw a touchdown pass every time he dropped back in the pocket. He finished 3-of-3 for 76 yards and three TDs, leading the Crusaders to a 42–7 victory at the Barfoot Bowl.

“Guys were open, and they made good plays after the catch,” he said.

Judge (5–7) won for the 25th time in a row and leads the overall series, 37–3–1.

“I’m confident in us, that we’re always going to come out on top,” Carroll said.

Lincoln (4–7) hasn’t won since 1989.

“We always come out tough, but their power and their strength take over,” said coach Ed McGettigan. “They are so big and strong up front. We don’t have the depth they do, but we competed, and that’s all I can ask for. They always make me proud.”

Yeedee Thaenrat ran for a 2-yard touchdown on Judge’s first possession to give the Crusaders a 7–0 lead. Judge’s Steve Brooks, who had a huge overall game, recovered a fumble on Lincoln’s next possession, and Carroll threw 28 yards to Prince Smith for a touchdown on the next play.

The Crusaders really exploded in the second quarter.

Carroll threw a 15-yard TD pass to Raheem Blackshear to make it 21–0.

Brooks caused a fumble on the next play. Three plays later, Smith broke numerous tackles en route to a 33-yard TD reception.

On Lincoln’s next possession, Brooks caused a fumble, and Jowell Agyedu picked up the ball and ran 38 yards for a touchdown.

When Brian Donovan kicked the extra point, that made the score 35–0 with 5:25 remaining in the first half.

Though the mercy rule states that the clock runs continuously only in the second half when a team leads by 35, the coaches and officials agreed to run the clock the rest of the game.

Judge scored again in the first half, when Agyedu blocked a punt that was recovered by Eric Petroski for a touchdown and 42–0 lead.

Judge coach Mike McKay was thrilled with the execution of the offense.

“We tried to get seniors involved early making plays,” he said. “We wanted to establish the run in the first quarter, get first downs, keep possession and hope to get a couple of scores.”

The second half started off with Lincoln fumbling the kickoff, with a recovery by Judge’s Justin Gies. But the officials were in a giving mood, allowing the Railsplitters to take possession.

In the fourth quarter, Lincoln’s Allston Augustin ran for a 2-yard touchdown. The extra-point attempt was clearly wide, but the officials were again in a giving mood, calling the kick good.

Augustin, a sophomore quarterback, was named Lincoln’s MVP.

“He’s a good player. We expect great things out of him,” McGettigan said.

Aaron Johnson, one of eight seniors, earned Lincoln’s sportsmanship award.

“He’s a great kid. He plays hard and does all the right things,” McGettigan said.

On the first three series, Carroll played defensive back and helped set the tone on that side of the ball.

On offense, he finished the season with 1,358 yards and 12 TD passes.

Now, he will turn his attention to choosing a college. He’d like to play football. His choices include West Chester, Kutztown, Dayton, Marist and Stetson.

Carroll, who attended La Salle as a freshman and Upper Moreland as a sophomore, will cherish his time at Judge.

“It was a great senior year. I love my teammates. I had a great time with all the guys,” he said.

Carroll is one of 11 Judge seniors. Another, Matt Hartigan, won his team’s sportsmanship award.

Brooks, too, is a senior. The Rhawnhurst resident was all over the field at linebacker and on offense, where he had several nice runs, including a 20-yarder called back by a penalty.

“I was going out there in my last game as hard as I can, to try to make plays,” he said.

Brooks was happy with the first-team defense, which shut out Lincoln before backups allowed a late score.

“We have a pretty good defense. The defense has been pretty solid overall,” he said.

At halftime, Judge recognized the 50th anniversary of its 1964 city championship team, which defeated Frankford, 19–18.

The Crusaders play in the tough Catholic League Class AAAA. They lost to La Salle, Roman Catholic and defending PIAA champion St. Joseph’s Prep, which is back in the state semifinals.

Four of Judge’s five victories this season came against Public League teams. The Crusaders clobbered Lincoln, Fels, Northeast and George Washington.

“Our expectations were higher than the record we had. We were young, but we have a lot of work to do,” McKay said.

Now, McKay will help seniors such as Carroll, Hartigan, Tim Breslin and Dan Sipps look for playing opportunities in college. ••

Finishing with a bang: Despite finishing with a 5–7 overall record, Father Judge and Raheem Blackshear (right) got the last laugh over Lincoln. Blackshear hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass, quarterback Zack Carroll had as many completions as TD passes (three) and the Crusaders scored early and often in the 42–7 Thanksgiving rout. BRIAN BAILEY / FOR THE TIMES

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