GROTON – Everything that could have gone wrong for the Groton-Dunstable Crusaders did Friday night in their 30-6 loss to the St. Peter-Marian Guardians at G-DRHS.
Quarterback Seamus Leary paced the Guardian offense by completing 11 of 18 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a touchdown on a 6-yard scramble that saw him flip over a G-D defender to cross the pylon.
The Crusaders were plagued by miscues, including four false start penalties, four dropped passes, three sacks, two blocked punts, an interception, a missed field goal, and a missed extra point.
“Last week we probably got away with some mistakes, and that wasn’t going to happen against a better team like St. Peter,” Crusaders head coach Tom Sousa said.
A blocked punt turned into the game’s first score as SPM’s Alec Simonovitch scooped up his own block and returned the ball 41 yards for a touchdown, putting the Guardians up 7-0 with 7:31 to go in the first quarter.
“We put ourselves in a bad spot,” Sousa said. “They came very hard on the first series and attacked us. They won the line of scrimmage… our mechanics [on the punt] were very slow.”
The Crusaders defense stood strong after Ryan Carey intercepted a Michael Tammaro pass on their next drive, stopping a fourth down try in the red zone. But their offense continued to sputter, and after getting inside the Guardian 10-yard line on their first possession of the second quarter, two false start penalties, two incomplete passes, and a missed 28-yard field goal attempt gave the ball back to the Guardians, who capitalized on the ensuing series with a field goal to take a 10-0 lead into halftime.
After receiving the second-half kickoff, the Guardians (2-0) went to work with a purpose, marching down the field with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a Leary-to-Simonovitch touchdown pass to extend the lead to 17-0.
The Crusaders (1-1) finally got on the board in the third quarter as Tammaro (8-for-17, 89 yards) found Jack Battles for a 13-yard touchdown pass, his only reception of the game, but after a missed extra point, the Crusaders were still down 11, 17-6.
SPM running back Anthony Baldino (8 carries, 93 yards) made the Crusaders pay for the miss on the next play from scrimmage, shedding five G-D defenders to bust off a 66-yard touchdown rush to put the game out of reach.
“Give [SPM] credit, they’re a good team,” Sousa said. “We thought we had a chance to turn the momentum at that point, and it didn’t work out that way.”
Crusader running backs Logan Higgins and Shane Dawson combined for 115 all-purpose yards.