UPPER DARBY >> It was the first time the Bonner & Prendergast sideline was alive with elation and optimism.
The defense had performed well enough to get the offense in position to put together a game-winning drive against Lansdale Catholic with 4:07 left, and the emergence of quarterback Shon Nelson in the second half gave the Friars hope that this was their week.
But the Friars’ confidence was sapped as Nelson was sacked at midfield on fourth down at midfield, bringing a ferocious fourth quarter comeback to a halt.
Despite two touchdown passes from Nelson and 124 receiving yards by wideout Kryin Jackson, Bonner & Prendergast fell short of its first win of the year, losing to Lansdale Catholic, 13-12. The Friars offense tallied 87 total yards in the opening half with Mike Standen under center while the defense, despite being run over and through by Crusaders running back Matt Casee (156 rushing yards), was able to limit the opposition to a single score.
After being inserted late in the second quarter, Nelson took some time to get into a rhythm before he started to spread things out, beginning with a 72-yard touchdown connection with Jackson, which cut the Crusaders lead to 7-6 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Jackson felt good with the way the passing game finally came together, despite a few lapses.
“It definitely builds confidence,” Jackson said. “We had some awesome passing plays but it was all mental mistakes. We just have to get back to working on the little things in practice.”
Bonner & Prendergast (0-4, 0-1 Catholic League Blue) took the momentum they built on the previous drive and turned the ensuing one into more points. Running back Ty Gunby (73 yards) got loose for 27-yard run, and two plays later Nelson found Ryan Beck for their first lead of the game and season.
It was a battle of teams with similar playing styles, but Friars head coach Jack Muldoon said one of them is still trying to find its identity.
“We felt like we were looking in the mirror,” Muldoon said. “We were able to spread them out, get into some isolations and got things moving. It’s the growing pains of a really young team and one that’s unsure of itself right now.”
Lansdale Catholic head coach Tom Kirk concurred with Muldoon.
“We both came into this game winless and hadn’t scored a lot of points. We told our guys it’s going to come down to the end,” Kirk said.
The Crusaders (1-2, 1-0) answered as Casee rumbled into the end zone from the goal line, but emotions were still running high on the Friars sideline. Casee exhausted whatever was left as he sacked Nelson to stop the comeback and keep the Friars winless for another week.