It was a beautiful, warm and sunny fall afternoon when a "fly-over" by the 122nd Fighter Wing/Blacksnakes just happened to appear out of nowhere...perfect conditions for the Fort Wayne St. John/St. Joe Eagles to play the South Bend Holy Cross/Christ the King Crusaders for the Fort Wayne/South Bend Diocesan Consolation game title.
Until the week prior, the Holy Cross team had 1 loss on the year losing in the South Bend Championship to Mishawaka Catholic 8-0.
The much larger South Bend Holy Cross team of 36 players jumped off their chartered bus on Sunday, November 6th and rolled onto Luersfield with a bang---off of an Eagle fumble, they scored. Also hitting their PAT, to go up 8 to 0.
The Eagles, with a team of 18 players, had a couple possessions after that, moving the ball, but could not convert until late in the 2nd quarter. On a 4th and 7 on the Holy Cross goal line, quarterback Jack Johnston hit Nick Carroll with a low pass. Carroll managed to snag and hold on to get the first down. On the next play, Seth Wyss happened to bull it in from the 1-yard line for the first score. The point-after attempt failed, making the halftime score 8-6.
In the 2nd half the Eagles played solid defense, shutting down the Holy Cross offense with their big Crusader line, only letting them cross the 50-yard line once. The Eagles offense put a long offensive drive together that ate 9 minutes off the clock and set up another 4th and 2 big play on the goal line for a possible go ahead score, and probably the game, late in the 4th quarter.
The soaring Eagles never gave up, keeping up their solid block and tackle, high-energy effort they ran right at the Crusaders and scored again with Seth Wyss getting the carry, and the score to go ahead 12-8. On the point-after, the snap was low but Noah Hoeffel pulled it and scurried into the end zone for the point to lead 13-8. The Holy Cross team still had 2 minutes to possibly score at the end, but the Eagle defensive attack covered their receivers well and hurried their QB, throwing their offense off rhythm shutting them down in the end 13-8.
After the win QB Johnston said, "Our line played great today. We really opened up the holes and had good protection. The backs and receivers ran hard and made some good moves. In addition, our defense was solid, after giving up a touchdown early. All in all it was a good game and I'm proud to say we beat a really good team from South Bend."
For the Eagles' Coach Jim Carroll, "The game was a tough challenge for our Eagles, but these kids like hard ball challenges. It was great competitiveness, true sportsmanship and a nice ending to a couple heart-breaking losses we had earlier. We like to think toughness and effort, the longest."
And for the CYO Championship game which followed...
The South Bend Mishawaka Saints went on to battle the Fort Wayne St. Charles Cardinals for the Diocesan Championship title. It was a tie-game 6-6 until the Saints took over in the 4th quarter ending with a final score 18-6.