Billy Fitzpatrick ’22
The Holy Cross football team capped off its season in dramatic fashion with a come-from-behind victory over Patriot League foe Georgetown in the nation’s capital. After trailing by as many as 26 points in the second half, the Crusaders (5-6 overall, 4-2 Patriot League) stormed back in the final 20 minutes to spoil their opponent’s Senior Day and top the Hoyas, 32-21. For Georgetown, the defeat gave them the same overall and conference records as Holy Cross, meaning that the Crusaders took second place in the Patriot League due to the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Junior quarterback Gunther Johnson opened the scoring for Georgetown with a two-yard touchdown run on the Hoyas’ first drive of the game. Later on in the first quarter, senior linebacker Ryan Brady forced a safety for the Crusaders, and after a big kickoff return, first-year kicker Derek Ng chipped a 24-yard field goal to make it 7-5.
However, Georgetown would go on to score 17 straight points in the second frame to open up a 24-5 halftime lead. Johnson found sophomore wideout Max Edwards for a 52-yard score. Less than a minute later, sophomore defensive back Ahmad Wilson picked off Crusader senior quarterback Geoff Wade. Wilson ran it back to the 18-yard line, then pitched the ball to senior defensive back Ramon Lyons, who reached the end zone for the Hoyas. A minute before halftime, senior placekicker Oliver Hill kicked a 22-yard field goal to extend the Hoya lead and take all the momentum heading into the break.
On the first Crusader possession of the third quarter, Wade threw his third interception of the day, and sophomore linebacker Wes Bowers returned it the house to establish a 31-5 advantage. Five minutes later, Wade would commence the Holy Cross comeback and begin to earn redemption for himself in his final collegiate game. He found senior wide receiver Martin Dorsey for a 20-yard strike with 4:21 remaining in the third to make it a three-possession game.
The fourth quarter saw the Holy Cross special teams unit turn the tide and bring the Crusaders back into the game. A minute into the fourth, junior defensive back (and Spire sports editor) Macklin Kortebein blocked a Hoya punt, which first-year wideout Spencer Gilliam returned 38 yards for a score. The Crusaders failed a two-point conversion, so the score stood at 31-18, in Georgetown’s favor. Remarkably, Kortebein blocked a second punt five minutes later, and first-year running back Peter Oliver scooped it up and ran it 27 yards to the end zone. This time, Holy Cross kicked the PAT to bring the deficit to just six points with over nine minutes remaining in the final period.
Meanwhile, the Holy Cross defense stood on its head, allowing just 60 yards of Georgetown offense in the second half, forcing punt after punt to keep its comeback hopes alive. The Crusaders were driving with just five minutes left when Wade coughed up a fumble on the Georgetown 28-yard line, which appeared to be a crushing blow at the time. Yet, the HC defense forced a three-and-out, and gave the ball back to Wade and the offense at their own 26-yard line with three minutes to go. After the defense and special teams carried Holy Cross back into the game, it was Wade’s turn to write the final chapter of his collegiate career. He marched down the field, going six-for-eight for 72 yards over 2:19 seconds of gametime. At one crucial moment, he converted on a 3rd & 15 with an all-important 30-yard toss to keep the drive alive. Junior tailback Miles Alexander capped off the impressive drive and incredible comeback by punching in from two yards out with just 42 seconds remaining, putting Holy Cross ahead 32-31. Junior defensive back Chris Riley intercepted a pass moments later to put the game away.
Congratulations to the Holy Cross football team for a thriller of a win, which extended the team’s winning streak to four games, its longest streak since 2009. The 26-point comeback was also the largest in program history. The late-season resurgence under head coach Bob Chesney, in his first season at the helm on Mount Saint James, should give the Crusaders momentum heading into the 2019 season. Congratulations to all seniors for all they have accomplished at Holy Cross.
Also, congratulations to the following players on their Patriot League honors for the last week of the season: Brady (Defensive Player of the Week), Kortebein (Special Teams Player of the Week), and Gilliam (Rookie of the Week). Seven members of the team were also named to 2018 All-Patriot League Teams. The first team selections are: Brady, senior offensive lineman Brett Boddy, senior defensive lineman Teddy Capsis, and sophomore offensive lineman Brian Foley. The second team selections are: junior running back Domenic Cozier, Dorsey, and Wade. Congratulations to Brady for earning Academic All-Patriot League honors and being named to the Division I All-New England team.
Photo courtesy Hero Sports