BURBANK – Friday night’s game between St. Laurence and Brother Rice started off with offensive sparks for both teams – touchdown runs of 70-plus yards from each quarterback in the span of a few plays.
The fireworks never died down.
Brother Rice outlasted St. Laurence for a 52-44 win in a CCL/ESCC crossover game at St. Laurence. Brother Rice led 52-21 at one point, but St. Laurence didn’t give in. Vikings quarterback Darius Wilson punched in a 7-yard touchdown with 1:38 remaining in the game to pull within one possession, but St. Laurence was unable to corral the ensuing on-side kick.
“I just told them I’m extremely proud of them,” St. Laurence coach Adam Nissen said. “Brother Rice is a heck of a football team. When we were down two or three scores, we didn’t fold up shop. They kept battling.”
Wilson scored a 72-yard rushing touchdown to open the game, but Brother Rice quarterback Jack Lausch answered with a 71-yard touchdown run of his own.
“It was pretty exciting to get early momentum in the game,” Wilson said. “It got the team excited, the crowd excited. It made us think that we had a chance, it made us believe.”
The two quarterbacks battled back and forth for the entire first quarter. Lausch and Wilson combined for five rushing touchdowns in the first quarter.
But it was Brother Rice’s offense that had the upper hand in the first half. The Crusaders (2-2) extended a 42-21 lead by halftime. When it was all said and done, Lausch finished his night with four rushing touchdowns and another touchdown passing. All five of those touchdowns came in the first half.
“It was awesome just to get things rolling on the offensive end,” Lausch said. “Had a few tough weeks before this, but just to get a groove going and get into a nice rhythm.”
Lausch ended his day with 117 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries. He also threw for 73 yards and a touchdown on 5-of-9 passing. Running back Willie Shaw, a Toledo commit, had been limited by injuries early in the season. He carried a heavier load Friday, rushing for 166 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.
“I’m happy to see him getting healthy and getting to full stride,” Brother Rice coach Brian Badke said. “But we’ve got some weapons, we just haven’t hit our stride yet. I think tonight we found our identity and who we are and what we can do.”
After opening a 31-point lead, Brother Rice put its second-string offense in midway through the second half. St. Laurence (1-3) took advantage of a few empty possessions by the Crusaders offense. Wilson connected with receiver Jalen Hamilton on 11 passes in the second half and the duo kept the sticks moving.
Though it came in a losing effort, Wilson put together a remarkable performance. The senior quarterback rushed for 196 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, while also throwing for 310 yards and three touchdowns on 22-of-30 passing.
“He’s a warrior man,” Nissen said. “[He] battled some injuries this year. He’s our senior leader, he’s a captain. The amount of punishment he takes on a daily basis and just keeps getting up, getting after it. He’s a special kid man. Just a great athlete, a great person.”
Hamilton caught 14 passes for 179 yards with a touchdown. That included a 72-yard touchdown in the second quarter.