Fourth and Long: How the Holy Cross Football Team Got Its Groove Back
Published: Friday, October 4, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 6, 2013 16:10
Following a difficult loss at home in its third annual night game, the Holy Cross Crusaders football team traveled to the Granite State to take on the Dartmouth Big Green. The Crusaders were coming off of a performance in which they showed tremendous toughness by fighting back in the fourth quarter from down 21-0 to make it a 21-14 final score against the Monmouth Hawks. It was a scoreless game for most of the first half until Monmouth scored three touchdowns to take a 21 point lead into the fourth quarter. The great victory in that game, however, was the discovery of freshman quarterback Peter Pujals who came into the game late and led the Crusaders on two scoring drives, earning a chance to start this past weekend against the Big Green. He proved that
his Patriot League Rookie of the Week performance against Monmouth was for real and
that the team may have found its quarterback going forward.
Despite trailing 14-0 midway through the second quarter, Holy Cross was not ready to accept another defeat at the hands of their Ivy League opponent. Peter Pujals looked like Johnny Manziel as he led the team on scoring drives on each end of the intermission to knot the score at 14. The teams exchanged touchdowns for the remainder of the game before senior placekicker John Macomber connected from 23 yards out to give the Crusaders a 31-28 lead with just 51 seconds left to play. The defense, led by senior linebacker Roman Sandoval’s game high 12 tackles, stood firm as Holy Cross improved its record to 2-3 on the season. Pujals finished with 290 yards and two touchdowns through the air and 125 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, good enough to earn his second straight Patriot League Rookie of the Week to go along with being named National Freshman of the Week by the Sports Network. Senior wide receiver Mike Fess led the team with nine receptions for 138 yards and sophomore wide receiver Kalif Raymond added seven receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. In addition to Pujals, kicker John Macomber was honored by the Patriot League by being named Patriot League Special Teams Player of
the Week for the second time in his career. Finally, freshman linebacker Kyle Young was named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week for his
performance with five tackles and two forced fumbles.
Led by tenth year head coach Tom Gilmore, the Crusaders have one more nonconference game left on the schedule before beginning Patriot League play. The Patriot League looks to be very tough this season with both Fordham and Lehigh looking unbeatable so far. Nevertheless, in recent weeks, Holy Cross has shown signs that it will be able to hang tough with both of these teams and should be very competitive against the rest of the league. Before getting underway with the Patriot League games, the team has one more key nonconference game this weekend as they host the Harvard Crimson for homecoming. It is a huge game for the Crusaders as Harvard has become Holy Cross’s biggest rival on the gridiron since the end of the series with Boston College. With the Patriot League now allowing scholarships, unlike the Ivy League, it is hopeful that this rivalry will continue despite the possible discrepancy in talent. While Harvard has caused a lot of trouble for the Crusaders in Cambridge in recent years, Holy Cross has won its past three home games against the Crimson, most notably handing Harvard its only loss of the 2011 campaign. Be sure to get down to Fitton Field for the 1:00 start time to witness what is certain to be an incredible game of football!