Dominant Notre Dame-GP gets defensive in shutout
Offense runs, but defense steals show vs. Palisades
Joey Rivituso had that look in his eye. So did fellow senior William Jordan. The Notre Dame-Green Pond seniors had a chance to grab some limelight from their offensive teammates and made a statement.
Rivituso and Jordan anchored a defense that held Palisades running back Mason Smeland to 36 yards rushing and 164 yards total offense in a dominant 27-0 victory Friday night at Walter T. Rohrer Stadium in Kintnersville.
“Wekind of took a little bit personally that the offense gets all the attention,” Rivituso said. “Wecameout tonight and showed that our defense is pretty good, too.”
Notre Dame-GP (6-0 overall, 4-0 Colonial League) got 121 yards and two touchdowns from standout running back Matt Frauen and 259 passing yards from quarterback Collin Quintano.
But the game balls will go to the defense.
“Our defense is more aggressive this year,” Jordan said. “We have a new defensive scheme and it allows us to attack more.
“It fits us well.”
Jordan capped the Crusaders’ defensive dominance with a fumble recovery on the Pirates’ last offensive play, but it was his hit and forced fumble (recovered by teammate Ethan O’Neill) that was the final straw.
It came on Palisades’ first series of the third quarter after a Nick Garrido punt pinned the Pirates at their 1-yard line.
On the first play after the punt, Jordan and O’Neill combined for the big play.
Two plays later, Frauen scored for a 24-0 Notre Dame lead.
“That was a big play for our defense,” Rivituso said. “That kept the momentum for us.”
The Notre Dame-GP seniors remember walking off the same field three years ago as freshmen in a season-ending District 11 playoff loss to Palisades (42-7). It stirred up bad memories. “I read about that game this week,” Rivituso said. “I didn’t like the feeling we had that day.
“We wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again.”
Notre Dame-GP has been slow to start games in the first half of this season, but had no such problem Friday night.
Matt Frauen’s 5-yard touchdown run gave the Crusaders a 7-0 lead with 1 minute, 27 seconds left in the first quarter.
It was a lead they never gave up. Garrido’s 25-yard field goal and Quintano’s 65-yard TD pass to Izzy Rodriguez extended Notre Dame-GP’s lead on its next two series.
Meanwhile, Palisades managed only 68 yards and two first downs (another by penalty) on five 1st-half drives.
Smeland suffered an arm injury on Palisades’ first series and didn’t get his normal number of touches. He carried the ball only 11 times and was off the field for times throughout the rest of the game.
“You could see he wasn’t the same,” Palisades coach Ramie Moussa said. “But, no excuses. They took it to us. We knew their front seven were good, but their secondary was good, especially their safety.
“This will be good for us. We’ll bounce back. We’ll find out if we’re a championship-caliber team based on how respond. I think we’ll be better because of this.”
Fellow senior running back Ben Haubert also did not play much offense. He had one of his hands heavily taped.
Haubert did have a big game defensively with double-digit tackles.
Third down a charm
The Crusaders converted on third down in each of their scoring drives.
Frauen’s touchdown run to start the scoring came on third down.
Notre Dame-GPconverted twice on third down to extend its next drive that ended with a field goal.
Then, the back-breaker: Quintano hit Izzy Rodriguez on a 65-yard TD pass on third-and-13. It was the second 3rd-down conversion on that drive.
Notre Dame-GP hosts Pen Argyl at 7 p.m. Friday. Palisades hosts Palmerton, also Friday at 7.
Notre Dame-GP running back Matt Frauen is taken down by Palisades defender Nicolas Petrillo in the second quarter.