A late first half touchdown strike was enough inspiration for Strake Jesuit to overcome a slow first half and ride a strong second half to a dominating 35-7 win over Ball High on Friday.
Junior Crusaders quarterback Michael Hansen broke a 7-7 deadlock with 26 seconds left in the first half when he hit sophomore Seth Jones in the right corner of the end zone to take a 14-7 lead into halftime.
Hansen steered the Crusaders with a steady performance under center, finishing the game 9-of-16 for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
But it was the Crusaders’ running attack that put things away in the second half.
Michael Wiley led a rushing attack that finished with 316 yards by running for 115 yards and two scores on 13 carries. James Moskosky finished with 104 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries as the other 100-yard rusher for the Crusaders.
The Tornados kept things close in the first half, holding the Crusaders to a scoreless tie after the first quarter and coming up with two interceptions.
But as the Crusaders’ offensive attack picked up, the Tors couldn’t find an answer and were plagued by second-half mistakes.
Junior quarterback Martavian Jackson led the Tors with 122 yards in the air on 8-of-21 passes. He added Ball High’s lone touchdown on a 13-yard quarterback keeper in the second quarter.
Clarence Dalton led the Tors’ rushing attack with 62 yards on 11 carries.
Neither side could get started on offense in the first quarter, with the Tors’ first drive stalling early and Hansen tossing a pick to Austin Lawrence on the Crusaders’ opening possession.
Rodnick Hockley would later come up with a second first-half interception for the Tors.
Hansen then opened the game’s scoring when he hit Jones on a 12-yard pass with 7:25 left in the first half.
Ball High responded by driving down the field and capitalizing on Jackson’s scamper during an apparently broken play with 2:57 remaining in the half.
The game looked headed for a deadlocked score at halftime before an impressive drive down the field to set up the score.
The Tors never recovered.
Wiley opened the second-half scoring on an 8-yard touchdown with 9:31 left in the third quarter.
Jackson then had a 48-yard touchdown run on another broken play called back by an illegal block and the Crusaders once again capitalized when Wiley scored again on a 16-yard touchdown run with 3:18 left in the third quarter.
As the game progressed into its final stages, the competition became decidedly chippier.
Strake Jesuit was plagued by early mistakes, finishing with 11 penalties for 90 yards.
The Tors once again came up short on their first drive of the fourth quarter, despite a deep push into the Crusaders’ red zone.
James Moskowsky then polished off the game with a 6-yard rush with 8:25 to play.
With a strong lead in hand, the Crusaders defense contained the Tors the rest of the way and the running game ticked down the clock for the win.
Ball High falls to 1-1 with the loss.