BREWSTER, N.Y. - For the second straight week, the John Jay offensive juggernaut jumped out to a big lead and came home with the win.
But Head Coach Jimmy Clark made sure not to overlook his team’s defensive performance in their 34-14 road win over Brewster on Friday, Sept. 20.
“We’ve got playmakers taking up big chunks of yards, but our defense gives the offense the opportunities to succeed,” Clark said.
Jon Connelly was the first to deliver. His interception early in the game put the Indians at midfield. The ensuing drive ended with a Luke Mercer 8-yard touchdown pass to Max Miraglia.
John Jay’s swarming front-four forced a three-and-out on the next drive, putting the ball back in Mercer’s hands.
The quarterback tucked in the snap, cut through the line and raced 70 yards to the Brewster 19. Two plays later, he hit Miraglia again for a 16-yard touchdown pass.
Mercer finished with 162 rushing yards on 17 carries. He also completed 8 of 14 passes for 94 yards.
Brewster did manage to break out on the next possession, but their drive stalled at the John Jay 27. On John Jay’s next drive, Connelly bumped outside on the hand off and left the Brewster defense chasing on a 62-yard touchdown run.
Despite falling behind 21-0, the Bears weren’t quite ready to pack it in. Brewster QB Chris Donohue converted a third-and-14 to Jack Gusler. Then a face mask on Mike Martinez’s first-down run had the Bears at the John Jay 30.
The defense was not resting, though, and Jack O’Reilly picked off Donohue with 10:28 remaining in the half.
“I was on the blitz and saw the halfback come out of the backfield,” O’Reilly said. “So, I split off and broke for the ball.”
A facemask on the return put John Jay at the 27, and one play later, Mercer and Miraglia pulled off the hat trick. The QB hit Miraglia on the run for a 28-0 lead.
But the Indians did get a bit of their own medicine. Paul Catalano stepped in front of a Mercer screen and ran untouched into the end zone. Giving the Bears a gasp, Brewster had their first defensive stop and Donohue then moved the Bears down to the Indian 25. However, Brewster was also up against the clock and had to settle for a missed 42-yard field goal.
Any remaining momentum ran head long into a defense that frustrated the Bears all night.
“We were playing great football, and we were not going to let one play get in the way of a certain victory,” concluded O’Reilly.
Up next, John Jay travels to Walter Panas on Friday.