BERNARDS – As a group of scouting Mid-State 38 coaches looked on – some charting, others speaking the details into tape recorders — Pingry was giving a 24-minute clinic Saturday afternoon on how to contain Bound Brook.
For the first time this season, the Crusaders trailed — 7-0 after the first quarter and lucky to have a 14-10 halftime lead — in a very emotional game at steamy Parsons Field.
The second half was an entirely different presentation, however, with the Crusaders presenting a display on what they do well, scoring 27 unanswered points to capture a 41-10 victory.
Bound Brook is 3-0 overall and 2-0 in Mid-State 38 Hills Division play, while the Big Blue fell to 0-3 and 0-2 in Hills play.
Bound Brook junior quarterback Jalen Wheeler threw for 390 yards and five touchdowns — three to senior wide receiver Isaiah Williams, a big reason the Crusaders regained their equilibrium just over the Watchung Mountain from Lamonte Field.
“We were the only game in town, so everybody came to watch,” said Bound Brook coach Dom Longo. “I don’t know what they (the coaches) thought because I wasn’t totally satisfied with our effort, but the second half was indicative of the kind of football team we are, but you have to play four quarters, so there are no excuses.”
The first and second quarters were fine with Pingry, which stacked the line, stopped Bound Brook fullback Mike Johnson and made Longo adjust the blocking scheme. That also made it pretty clear to Longo: go to the play makers — Williams and Justin Foster in particular, who took advantage of some single coverage.
“They gave us a weird defense and we just couldn’t contain them,” said Wheeler, who has thrown for 10 touchdowns this season.. “”Thiss was the first time we really had to come together as a team after being down like that.”
Bound Brook’s first drive ended with Adam Palmer recovering a fumble off a bad snap. Junior tackle Neil Holman sacked Wheeler on a fourth down to end the next series. Pingry then took the lead three plays later as John Dugan weaved his way to a 30-yard TDfor the lead.
Bound Brook looked set to tie, but Gary Roach was stopped on a fourth-and-goal from the two. Defense kept Bound Brook’s psyche until Wheeler and Williams connected on a 41-yard pass for the lead. A Williams interception with less than two minutes left in the half got the ball back. On the next play, Wheeler and Justin Foster connected for a 70-yard touchdown.
Pingry marched down the field — fueled by a Tim Landers’ 44-yard hook-up with Dugan gave it a first-and-goal from the four. But time was running out, the Big Blue were penalized for a delay that brought a Ryan Toomey field goal.
A sack by freshman Ronald Tuck stopped Pingry’s first series of the second half and brought some needed motivation for his teammates.
Bound Brook took a 20-10 lead when Wheeler and tight end Jack Welti combined on a 33-yard scoring play on a fourth-and-two as Welti tipped the ball to himself, then ran it in. It became 27-10 when Wheeler threw 51 yards to Williams, with Jeison Arias making the extra point with four minutes left in the third.
“We showed that we could come back from adversity,” said Williams. “We started off slow for our first Saturday game of the season. We better start off right next time.”