LaSalle 20, Catholic 12 Sept. 29, 2001

PHILADELPHIA - Jeremy Crimmel scored two touchdowns, including the eventual game-winner early in the fourth quarter, to help Division I-AA LaSalle defeat Catholic 20-12 to send the Cardinals to their second consecutive loss.

After fumbling on its first possession, Catholic took advantage of a LaSalle miscue. On the ensuing punt, freshman Brendan Nugent (White Plains, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) forced a fumble that was recovered by junior Ryan Welsh (Glen Mills, Pa./Salesianum). Senior Derek McGee (Marlton, N.J./Cherokee) would then lead the Cardinals on an eight-play, 39-yard drive resulting in a 5-yard score to senior tight end Damian Richard (Winona, Minn./Cotter) at the 5:04 mark of the first quarter. McGee zipped a bullet to the sideline, threading through two defenders with Richard able to get one foot inbounds for the score. The extra point attempt by kicker Greg Stokes (Lafayette Hill, Pa./Plymouth Whitemarsh) was no good, leaving the score 6-0.

The Explorers answered on their second possession in the second quarter as Crimmel raced 30 yards up the middle untouched into the end zone for the score. LaSalle used a poor punt by the Cardinals to gain great field advantage as they started the one-play drive at the CUA 30. A successful fake point-after attempt gave the Explorers an 8-6 lead.

Catholic threatened late in the first half as they started a drive at their own 23. McGee got the offense to the LaSalle 32 but a fourth down attempt fell incomplete.

LaSalle used the last 45 seconds in the half to go 68 yards in seven plays as John Travers had completions of 25, 14 and 20 yards. With three seconds remaining with a first and goal from the 3-yard line, Travers hit John Salamone in the end zone. The extra point attempt was blocked and nearly returned for two points by senior defensive back Lonnie Meadows (Silver Spring, Md./Archbishop Carroll), making it 14-6 at the half.

Catholic took the second-half kickoff at its own 42-yard line. But just three plays later, McGee threw one of his two interceptions on the day. Starting at the Catholic 41-yard line, LaSalle marched to the 10-yard line before Brian Small's rush on fourth-and-3 came up short.

On the ensuing possession, McGee led the Cardinals from its own 9-yard line, all the way to the LaSalle 4, going 8-for-12 including five consecutive completions. But a personal foul on third and goal pushed CUA back to the 17-yard line. Greg Stokes came on to kick a 35-yard field goal, but it was wide left.

After the teams traded punts, the Explorers started a drive at their own 48-yard line with Travers hitting Small on a 38-yard completion to put LaSalle at the CUA 10. Crimmel would add his second score of the day on the next play from 10 yards out. The extra point attempt was also no good, making it 20-6.

LaSalle would regain possession after Omar Mitchell picked off McGee and returned it to the CUA 39. The Cardinals returned the favor when on the very next play, Travers fumbled, and Welsh recovered at the LaSalle 42.

Catholic then grinded to the Explorer 16-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. The CUA defense refused to give up just yet which resulted in an interception by senior defensive back Jimmy Nalls (Silver Spring, Md./Gonzaga). With the ball at the LaSalle 29, McGee made three completions in-a-row including a nice touch pass in the end zone to freshman wideout Nick Bublavi (Norwood, Pa./Interboro) from 18 yards out. After a low snap on the extra point attempt, Stokes was tackled in the backfield to make it 20-12.

Travers then led the offense on the ensuing kickoff, chewing up over five minutes. But faced with a fourth-and-7 at the CUA 28, Travers was intercepted by senior defensive back Denis Campbell (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) giving the Cardinals a breath of life late in the game.

Catholic would get no further than the LaSalle 45-yard line as consecutive sacks and penalties drove CUA back to its own 44. McGee's fourth-and-21 was incomplete giving the Explorers the win.

McGee finished 26-for-54 for 254 yards with two interception and two scores. Junior wideout Dan Evans (South Riding,Va./Paul VI) had a game-high seven receptions for 55 yards. Defensively, linebacker Bobby Stutz (Hillsborough, N.J./Immaculata) made a game-high 16 stops. Junior defensive end Scot Lutte (Walnutport, Pa./Allentown Catholic) had six tackles including three for losses.

The Cardinals return to action as they travel to Lexington, Va., to take on Washington & Lee in an Old Dominion Athletic Conference contest on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 1 p.m.