Bean totals 4 TD passes as Crusaders finish first undefeated regular season
In a season filled with dominant performances, Brother Rice senior Joe Fitzgerald called Friday’s “the best yet.”
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound linebacker wasn’t exaggerating.
In a showdown for the Catholic Blue championship, the Crusaders made it look easy against host Montini.
Quarterback John Bean rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another as Brother Rice rolled to a 31-0 victory.
The win capped the first undefeated regular season in program history, dating back to 1956.
On two other occasions the Crusaders (9-0, 4-0) started 8-0 — in 2003 and 2016— only to lose to St. Rita and Loyola, respectively.
Even more impressive, Brother Rice accomplished the feat after going 2-7 in 2017.
Talk about a bounce-back season.
“It feels great, but it’s not a surprise,” Fitzgerald said. “We worked hard for this. We’re junkyard dogs, blue-collar kids.”
As has been the norm, the one-two punch of Bean and running back Jessi Plunkett carried much of the load.
Bean, a 6-foot, 190-pound senior, rushed for 143 yards and ran for TDs of 39, 20 and 9 yards on 15 carries. Plunkett added 117 yards on 25 carries.
Bean also was effective with his right arm, completing 10 of 16 passes for 98 yards and a TD.
Two of Bean’s TD runs came on fourth-down plays. He confirmed the Crusaders saw things they could exploit in those situations.
“We watched a lot of film on them during theweek,” Bean said. “Those plays worked because of that. But I give all the credit to the offensive line.”
The O-line of Danny Conners, Dan Sullivan, Evan Kirts, Ryan McBrearty and John McGlynn allowed the Crusaders to total 365 yards.
Bean’s 13-yard TD toss to Dylan Summers gave Rice a 14-0 lead at the half.
Brother Rice coach Brian Badke credited the running game for wearing down Montini (8-1, 3-1).
“We thought up front we could win the battle,” Badke said. “When you have a guy like Johnny Bean at quarterback running the show, you feel really good.”
The defense held Montini to 82 yards rushing and 3 yards passing. Tim Desmond recovered a fumble that led to Bean’s TD pass to Summers and Jaysh on Means had an interception in the end zone.
But it was the constant pressure up front by Tyrhen McCoy, Zach Wareyko and Justin Jefferson that bottled up Montini’s offense.
“The defense is a special group,” Badke said. “It all starts up front with them, too. Those guys get after it.”
Brother Rice quarterback John Bean rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another on Friday.
Brother Rice defensive back Danny Fitzgerald (8) is grabbed by Montini wide receiver Matt Ross on a pass on Friday. Brother Rice’s defense held Montini to 3 yards passing.