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WAYNE – Bergen Catholic exploded for one big play after another against fellow defending state champion DePaul in the regular-season finale.

The top-ranked Crusaders dominated the Spartans , 42-7, Friday night in the Super Football Conference with all six of their touchdowns coming on plays of 32 or more yards.

 

“I’m just happy with the way we finished up [the regular season],” said Bergen Catholic coach Vito Campanile. “We really wanted it.”

Senior running back Rahmir Johnson rushed for 261 yards and two touchdowns as Bergen Catholic, No. 1 in the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey Top 20, opened a 35-7 halftime lead.

Junior quarterback Andrew Boel threw for 212 yards and four scores as the Crusaders opened a 42-7 lead with 9:59 left in the third quarter, which triggered a running clock on the “35-point rule.”

DePaul scored its lone TD in the second quarter, with senior quarterback Taquan Roberson tossing a 9-yard scoring pass to senior receiver Johnny Amodeo to cut the deficit to 21-7.

What it means

Bergen Catholic (8-1) can make its case for the No. 1 seed in the Non-Public Group 4 playoffs. Saturday’s game between St. Peter’s Prep (6-2) and St. Joseph (6-2) will also be pivotal to the committee’s decision. Bergen Catholic lost to St. Peter’s, but defeated St. Joseph, so a St. Joseph home win over St. Peter’s also would create a three-way tie for the title in the SFC United Red Division.

Key play

Johnson scored on a 95-yard run at 6:58 of the first quarter for a 7-0 lead, and it set the tone in a game in which the Crusaders also scored on first-half pass plays of 61, 40, 34, and 32 yards, and also scored on a 57-yard run.

“I think a lot of that is, when you’ve got a guy like Rahmir, the safeties have to be cognizant that he’s a tough guy to tackle and you can’t give him too much room,” Campanile said. “Then you give Garrett [Cody] and Pierson [Tobia] some room, and obviously Tyler [Devera] can stretch you down the middle, there’s some good weapons here.”

By the numbers

Bergen Catholic had 551 total yards, and Boel was 7-for-13 for 212 yards, four TDs and two interceptions. He threw a 61-yard TD pass to junior Amar Gist, a 40-yarder to Devera and scores of 34 and 32 yards to Cody.

Bergen Catholic’s defense was outstanding while holding DePaul to a single TD and denying Roberson, a Penn State commit, and the Spartans a big-play score. DePaul had 227 total yards

“Our defense was amazing,” said Crusaders sophomore defensive lineman Tywone Malone. “I felt like everybody rallied to the ball and never quit on a pass, and it was an all-our effort.”

Senior Michael Kearney became Bergen Catholic’s all-time kicking points scoring leader after converting all six of his extra points. Kearney has 174 kicking points, surpassing the 173 by 1999 graduate Doug Kirchner.

Game ball

Give it to Johnson, with major props to his offensive line. Johnson carried 22 times for his 261 yards, mostly out of the wildcat formation, and his 57-yard TD with 9:59 left in third triggered the running clock.

“He played phenomenal,” Campanile said of Johnson. “I thought we did a great job pinning and pulling, I thought we did a good job getting downhill and I really thought we played with great tempo.”

They said it

“Obviously, Taquan Roberson is as good of a weapon as there is in high school football, and this is huge,” Campanile said “We had laser focus all week in practice and I felt really good about the way we prepared. It’s a huge step for us. With what’s going on with the seeding and having a [selection] committee, I think we’re really hitting our stride at the right time.”

Up next

Bergen Catholic will open defense of its Non-Public Group 4 title against a team to be determined.

DePaul (6-3) will open defense of its Non-Public Group 3 crown against a team to be determined.

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