The Bears used defense and special teams to defeat the second seeded John Curtis Patriots in the Division I finals, 20-14.
But one of the best games we’ve seen yet this week didn’t come without a bit of drama early. On a John Curtis punt in the first half, Catholic returner Patrick Mensah dropped muffed it and continued to bobble the ball all the way back toward their own goal line. However, what appeared to be a Patriots touchdown that they recovered in the endzone was ruled a touchback. By rule, once the ball crosses the goal line, it’s a touchback if the ball was never possessed.
It saved the Bears from giving up seven points, and they took advantage by putting seven of their own on the board with Cameron Dartez connected with Austin Hood for a 65-yard touchdown. The Bears would take that 7-0 lead into halftime.
The second half was where both teams really woke up. The scoring started with a Collin Guggenheim touchdown for John Curtis to tie the game up at seven.
From there, it was the Bears’ special teams that made the difference. Mensah made up for his muffed punt scare earlier in the game with a huge return inside the John Curtis five yard line. Beau Griffon would finish the drive from there to give Catholic the lead again, 14-7.
Jump to the fourth quarter where Curtis would find the answer again. Darryan Washington scored on a 15-yard touchdown run breaking several tackles along the way to tie the game, yet again, at 14 a piece.
But late in the fourth, for the first time all day, Catholic didn’t rely on the big play, but instead put together a long, grinding, 15-play, 64-yard drive all the way inside the Patriots’ five yard line. Though they couldn’t punch it in, they were able to take a 17-14 lead with a Preston Stafford field goal.
With less than three minutes to play, the Patriots had the challenge of tying the game, but on the first play of the drive, Guggenheim was intercepted by Caleb Bowers, allowing Catholic to milk more of the game clock before setting up Stafford for another 43-yard field goal to give them a 20-14 lead.
With Curtis in need of a touchdown, they were forced to take to the air. And once again, it was Patrick Mensah making a huge play to intercept Guggenheim and seal the game for the Bears.
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