UPPER DARBY >> Jack Muldoon thought his team had turned a corner. Two weeks ago against Lansdale Catholic, his Bonner & Prendergast Friars battled back from an early deficit and lost by one point. They took that momentum into their game against Bishop McDevitt last week and pulled out their first victory of the year.
Everything appeared to be looking up for the Friars as they were playing with a lot more confidence and fluidity.
That was until Philadelphia Catholic League Blue Division leader Neumann-Goretti came in Friday night.
Behind three rushing touchdowns from running back Chris Wells and a stingy defense, Neumann-Goretti steamrolled the Friars 42-6. The Saints defense held the Friars without a first down until midway through the third quarter and made Bonner & Prendie’s rushing attack non-existent (minus-50 yards).
The only player with positive rushing yards for the Friars was wide receiver Kyrin Jackson, who had two yards on the ground and 21 receiving. For Muldoon, it did not resemble the team he had seen the last two weeks but stressed it would not stifle his young squad.
“It’s a tough time in our schedule,” he said. “We’ve played a tougher schedule than some of the other teams out here. We’re not discouraged but we’re disappointed. Our guys came out and did what we asked of them, which was battle and make some plays. It’s a little bit of a tough lesson today.”
Neumann-Goretti (5-0, 3-0) put the pressure on the Friars early as Wells scored the first score of the game from eight yards out. Then on Bonner & Prendergast’s ensuing drive, quarterback Shon Nelson fumbled and Kharon Lloyd returned it for a 25-yard touchdown as the Saints ran out to a 14-0 lead to begin the second quarter.
Wells ran for 73 of the Saints’ 204 yards on the night and first-year head coach Albie Crosby remembered how strong of a rivalry this game was back when he was playing.
“I graduated from West Catholic back in 1988 and it was always a tough rivalry against Bonner,” Crosby said. “We knew they were a tough, hard-nosed group regardless of what their record is.”
Bonner & Prendie (1-6, 1-3) finally got on the board when Mike Standen, who relieved Nelson in the third quarter, found Dan Donohue for a 37-yard strike. Standen hopes the optimism his team was able to build late in the game will help them get back on track.
“It gives our team a lot of confidence because we know we can get the ball in the end zone,” Standen said. “It was a tough one today but we’ll come back next week ready to play.”