Cats come back to defeat BCC in final minute

Senior captain and linebacker CJ Newman and junior wide receiver/defensive back Nick Zampardi line up to try and stop the Barons triple option offense. Zampardi was able to record an interception during the game.

A new chapter was written in the rivalry between WJ and BCC last Friday with the Wildcats (5-1) taking home the win 20-14.

The Barons (2-4) received the ball to start the game and were stopped on their first drive to set up a drive for the Cats. The Cats first drive ended quickly with junior quarterback Charlie Blessing getting intercepted. The WJ defense stayed strong against the Barons triple option offense and at the end of the first quarter, the Cats were able to drive down the field with a big play from Blessing to junior wide receiver/defensive lineman Reid Wisniewski down to the BCC 5 yard-line. The next play, Blessing rushed it in for a WJ touchdown ending the first quarter at 7-0.

“When you’re stopping the triple option it’s mainly about discipline and doing your job, getting to the football and not doing too much and when you have a top defense like us it comes natural,” senior captain and offensive tackle/defensive lineman Alphonse Mansare said.

Early in the second quarter, the Barons were able to drive down the field deep into Wildcats territory. The Cats were able to force a 4th and 12 for the Barons, but the Barons took a risk and went for it rather than punting or kicking a long field goal. Not only were they able to move the sticks, but they were able to get into the endzone on a flea flicker for the long touchdown. The Cats were able to answer with a long drive of their own led by multiple 4th down conversions and capped off with a touchdown grab by Wisniewski on a pass thrown by Blessing. The Barons were able to block the extra point and when they got the ball, junior wide receiver/defensive back Nick Zampardi intercepted their quarterback which took the game into halftime with a score of 13-7.

“On the sidelines it was very intense, a lot of us were very shaken up, but we kept pursuing with it and we got the win at the end of the day,” freshman running back Dylan Byrd said.

The third quarter was a defensive stalemate with both teams getting stopped and unable to score any points. Early in the fourth quarter, the Barons were able to force Blessing to fumble on a rushing attempt and recover the fumble to set up a drive. It only took one play for them to score as they rushed the ball in for a 41 yard touchdown making the score 14-13 Barons. The Cats were stopped on their next possession and the Barons were able to drive down the field and force the Cats to call timeouts. The Cats forced a fourth down, but the Barons needed less than a yard to ice the game and claim their first victory against WJ since 2017, but they jumped off the line of scrimmage pushing them back to 4th and 6. The Cats were able to get the stop and set up a two minute drive for the ages.

“It was huge. 4th and 1 would’ve been really hard to stop and luckily we got the false start. The center had jumped off and we knew our defense could stop them and get the ball back,” Wisniewski said.

The drive began with Blessing coming off the field due to an open wound and senior quarterback Andrew Plotnick replacing him for a play. Plotnick completed a seven yard pass and WJ was able to get out of bounds to stop the clock from running. Blessing came back into the game and completed a short pass to Byrd who ran the Cats deep into field goal range. The Cats were able to get a first down and then capped off the drive when Blessing connected with Wisniewski for the eight yard touchdown with less than 30 ticks remaining. The defense was able to record one more stop as the Cats were able to complete the comeback.

“Other teams would be nervous, but I have a ton of confidence in our offense. I feel like we can score on anybody at any time,” Mansare said.

This Friday, Oct. 14, the Cats will host the Richard Montgomery Rockets (3-3) at 7:15 pm.

“Our defense is really strong so we should be able to hold their offense which is pretty powerful and if we can get good ball movement on offense [we] should be good,” senior wide receiver/defensive back Daniel Jones said.

WJ is looking to keep their undefeated home record alive and get their first win against RM since 2010.

“We’re definitely feeling confident this season. We pulled it out against Northwest for the first time in 12 years and we’re really confident in our team, our guys and our coaches and I feel like the confidence factor is really helping us get there,” junior linebacker Dylan Minnick said.