On Thursday night of round in division 1 select playoffs, the Brother Martin Crusaders faced off against the Woodlawn- BR Panthers at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans. The winner of this matchup would go on to play against St. Augustine in round 2.
Brother Martin won the opening coin toss and deferred the ball until the second half. Woodlawn’s offense started off the game strong as LSU commit Rickie Collins was able to find Clayton Adams on back-to-back plays to give the Panthers consecutive first downs. Those first downs would put the Panthers in Brother Martin territory early. On the next play, Collins would find receiver JMarcus Sewell on a 40 yard passing touchdown.
On the Crusaders first drive of the game, Woodlawn would force them to a 3 and out after Caleb Cooper’s tackle on Clayton Lonardo was a few yards short of the first down. Woodlawn would start the drive on their own 7 yard line. Following a Collins first down pass to Clayton Adams, Collins would take off for a huge 60 yard gain using his legs. Collins would then find receiver Ryan Brown for another Panthers touchdown with 4:50 remaining in the first quarter
On the kickoff, the Crusaders were unable to handle the short kick and the Panthers would take over in great field position at their opponents 30 yard line. Collins would show off his running ability again as he would take off for a 25 yard rushing touchdown. Not only did Rickie showcase his speed on the touchdown run but he was able to shrug off a few tackles and truck a couple defenders to punch the ball into the endzone.
After going 20-0 in the first quarter, the Brother Martin offense would start to heat up. Following a roughing the pass call on Woodlawn, quarterback Seth Dazet found a open Clayton Lonardo and Lonadro would do the rest as he took it 40 yards downfiled for the Crusaders first touchdown of the game. Lonardo was not done after that as the Crusaders’ defense forced Woodlawn to a 3 and out. Lonardo would line up at quarterback for a little wildcat formation and took it up the middle for the Crusaders second touchdown to make the score 20-14 early in the second quarter.
From there on out the Panthers offense struggled to get anything going. As for the Crusaders, their running back Torey Lambert was just getting started. After a few first down pickups for Brother Martin, Lambert was able to find a hole and take off for a big touchdown run to give the Crusaders the lead. The Panthers would get into penalty trouble again as an illegal block would push them back after gaining a first down. Collins and the offense drove down field but the Crusaders defense would stand tall. After a successful fourth down play in Crusader territory, the Crusaders defense forced Woodlawn to a field goal attempt. The special teams unit for the Crusaders came up big after blocking the field goal and taking the ball into Panther territory. Both teams would possess the ball before the half ended but the Crusaders hot offense was not done. Driving the ball to the Panthers’ 3 yard line, Torrey Lambert would find the endzone again for his second touchdown of the game. Lambert’s touchdown would come late in the second quarter with only :28 seconds left in the half.
Going into the second half, the Crusaders looked to their hot hand Lambert and he could not be stopped. Following back-to-back first down runs from Lambert, Dazet rolled out and found a receiver downfield in the endzone but it would be called back for offensive pass interference. The Panthers’ defense stepped up and forced Brother Martin to a field goal. After the lead expanded to 31-20 early in the third quarter, the Panthers’ offense tried to get back in rhythm but penalties would kill their momentum. Brother Martin’s defensive line was a problem all night for Collins’ and the offense as he was forced to use his feet to pick up positive gains. Following first down runs from Jay’veon Haynes and Rickie Collins, the Panthers were faced with another fourth down. The Crusaders’ defense would come up big again and stop the Panthers on fourth down.
Torey Lambert and the Crusaders offense were not finished as back-to-back runs for Lambert would go for consecutive first downs. Dazet would hand the ball back to Lambert and the Texas State commit powered his way through a few defenders and punched it in for his third touchdown of the game.
In the fourth quarter both offenses were not able to get anything going, but the Crusaders’ defense came up big again. As Collins tried to roll out to his left, two Crusader defenders would close in on Collins and force a fumble. Crusades’ Nathan Malek picked up the ball and took it for the scoop and score. The turnover made the score 45-20 with 7:20 remaining in the game.
The lead would be too much for the Panthers as Brother Martin would end up victorious and will move on further in the playoffs. Unfortunately, Woodlawn’s season would come to an end with a 4-7 record on the year, as they played one of the toughest schedules in state this year.
Brother Martin will go up against St. Augustine this Friday, November 18th.