The motto of the Southeast defense is, "Go hard or go home." And on the most important play of the game Saturday, the Buffaloes' defense went hard, sending Kapaun Mount Carmel home with a 14-7 loss at Northwest.
The game was finished Saturday after being suspended because of Friday night's persistent lightning.
With 50 seconds remaining in the game, the Crusaders had a fourth-and-five from the Southeast 8-yard line. With no time-outs, Kapaun rushed to get a play off only to have Dyllon Knox's attempt stopped by a herd of Buffaloes, led by Xavier Smith.
"The defense responded well and played with lots of intensity," said Southeast coach Gary Guzman. "We needed to make a play and they did."
Trailing 7-6 at the half, the Buffaloes wanted to set the tone defensively at the start of the third quarter. Southeast wasted no time doing so.
Defensive end Broderick Webb stripped Kapaun quarterback Chris Hayes on the first play of the half and returned the ball 41 yards for a score. Southeast converted a two-point conversion, taking a seven-point lead.
The play was the confidence-booster that the defense needed after Kapaun ended the first half with a nine-play, 67-yard drive resulting in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Keaton Lewis to Tyler Nulik.
"I got my hands on the ball and just ripped it out," Webb said. "When I got it I just took off because I didn't want to get caught, we needed a touchdown."
Southeast intercepted two passes and held Kapaun (2-2 overall, 2-2 in City League) to 168 yards of offense. The Crusaders accounted for 126 of those yards on the touchdown drive and an eight-minute drive to start the fourth quarter. Starting on its own 5-yard line, Kapaun trekked to the Southeast 34-yard line on 12 plays. The Crusaders' drive stalled, however, after an offensive pass interference play pushed them back to the 50-yard line. and Kapaun punted to end the drive.
"We had some glimpses of things going well, but then we'd have a penalty or we didn't execute," said Crusaders' coach Dan Adelhardt. "We have a methodical approach and to be successful everything needs to be clicking."
Neither team started the game in an offensive rhythm. Southeast struggled before scoring the first points of the game on a 5-yard run by Joseph Randle. Randle finished with 135 yards on 27 carries.
"Everything starts with the offensive line and they did a good job of creating a crease," Guzman said. "When we can create some space, (Randle) will find it."
Kapaun (2-2, 2-2) 0 7 0 0 —7 Southeast (2-2, 2-1) 0 6 8 0 —14
SE—Randle 5 run (run failed)
KMC—Nulik 23 pass from Lewis (Cantele kick)
SE —Webb 41 fumble return (Plowden run)
Rushing—Kapaun, Knox 16-44, Hayes 6-40, Lewis 7-30, Truman 3-12, Stump 3-3 . Southeast, Randle 27-135, Plowden 5- (-1), Metcalfe 2-0.
Passing—Kapaun, Lewis 2-6-1-39, Hayes 0-6-1 0. Southeast, Plowden 3-4-1-76.
Receiving—Kapaun, Nulik 2-34, Schulte 1-5. Southeast, Taylor 2-49, Le 1-27.