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By:Marvin Chambers:|4.0 Sports Media

Oradell, NJ-Bergen Catholic almost let one slipped in their opening round of the NJSIAA state title run. The Crusaders (8-2) entering the state playoffs on a six-game winning streak and undefeated in New Jersey this season (7-0) but St. Augustine was trying to be the grinch the stole Christmas.

Early in the third quarter when the Hermits (5-5) tied the Crusaders 21-21 with 10:04 left in the quarter Bergen Catholic woke completely up. St. Augustine Christopher Allen quarteback threw a 24-yard TD corner route to senior receiver Xavier File and senior Sacred Heart commit Shamere Collins ran in for the two point conversion on a reverse play. Collins earlier took the kick-off 95 yards down the the left sidelines to paydirt and got his Hermits’ team in striking distance 21-13 before the half.

Bergen Catholic proceeded to score 35 straight points on a 6-yard touchdown run from Rahmir Johnson, a 27-yard interception return for a score by DB Jordan Morant that was tipped by linebacker Anthony Corbin dropping into the flat, a 12-yard touchdown run from Langan, a 3-yard score from Johnson and an Andrew Boel 9-yard touchdown run to end the scoring with 6:39 left in the fourth.

The Crusaders turned a close game into a running clock in a 56-21 win over St. Augustine to advance to next week’s sectional semifinals, where Bergen will play Delbarton Friday night to secure a spot in the Non-Public Group 4 state final.

“We played hard and when we tied them I was telling my team we could beat them. Bergen made a lot of ajustments in the second half and we didn’t but I love my brothers because we played hard together the whole season. I’m ready for the next level.” Hermits senior Shamere Collins said.

Bergen Catholic accumulated 612 yards of total offense, including 374 yards on the ground and that was without the team’s leading rusher, junior Josh McKenzie, who sat out Saturday after suffering a head injury last week game against Seton Hall Prep. Quarteback Johnny Langan finished the day with 16 carries for 211 yards and three touchdowns, while Rahmir Johnson had 13 carries for 111 yards and three scores as well.

The Crusaders immediately answered the Hermits game tying TD drive with a go ahead drive on their own. Bergen put together a 7 play 88 yards TD with Johnson scoring a 6yd power play.

“Unfortunately it shouldn’t be that way. It should be that we should have started the game playing hard and fast from the beginning. Honestly, I don’t know that we played with the intensity level that we needed to, and we’re going to have to be a lot better next time.” Bergen Catholic coach Nunzio Campanile said.

The Crusaders took an early 7-0 lead on Langan’s first touchdown run of the afternoon on a 1-yard run with 6:33 left in the first quarter, capping a 14-play, 80-yard drive that included two catches for 20 yards from tight-end Aeneas DiCosmo on clear out routes.

A possession later, BC tooked the lead, 14-0, on a 10-yard touchdown run from quarterback Johnny Langan, two plays after he broke a 58-yard run on a inside quarterback draw play breaking tackles on the sidelines.

It was a record-breaking day for seniors Johnny Langan and Dylan Classi. The Boston College commit became the program’s all-time leader in career rushing yards by a QB with 1,320, passing Tanner McEvoy (1,196), and the program’s all-time leader in career rushing touchdowns by a QB, with 18, passing Craig Pengitore (17). Langan’s reliable receiver, Classi, also tied a career mark tying the program record for career receptions with 84, joining 2013 graduate JJ Kulcsar.

“We didn’t really play as we should have and we really woke ourselves. We play for each other and we love each other. We will get at it next week and clean up all of mental mistakes and get ready for Delbarton next week. I promise we will be ready.” Bergen Catholic senior Javonte Jean-Baptiste said.