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EIGHT-MAN FOOTBALL: NOTRE DAME DROPS SEASON OPENER TO TRUMANSBURG (24 PHOTOS) (2021-09-12)

By Brian Fees
Southern Tier Sports Report
SOUTHPORT — Through the first quarter the Notre Dame defense did everything they could to keep Trumansburg’s weapons in check.

A safety and a forced fumble by the defense helped the Crusaders hold an 8-6 edge heading into the second quarter.

In the second quarter everything changed as the Trumansburg offense got clicking and they pulled away for a 58-14 victory in the season opener for both teams.

“They are a very skilled team,” Notre Dame coach Mike Johnston Sr. said. “They had all their studs back, starters from he backfield. We prepared for that, but they are just very good, they are ahead of us.”

The Crusaders knew Trumansburg had weapons. They knew they were explosive. But, in the second quarter the Blue Raiders played nearly flawless football, scoring 36 points in the quarter to turn an 8-6 game after one quarter into a 42-14 contest.

“Not only that (how explosive Trumansburg is), but they are strong to,” Johnston Sr. said. “We had some kids with initial hits, but they were able to break the hits and get big yardage on us. They are stronger and we knew they were a seasoned team. WE knew they were going to be very good, because they had all their backs back and they are experienced with seniors.”

After Notre Dame turned the ball over on their first drive, Trumansburg struck first as they ran in for a 10-yard score at 6:29 of the first quarter.

It took the Crusaders no time to answer as Owen Stewart fired a strike to Eric Bukowinski for a 65-yard touchdown. The two-point try failed and the game was tied at six.

On the next Trumansburg possession the Crusaders defense went to work. They forced the three-and-out and on fourth down there was a bad snap and Notre Dame got the safety to take an 8-6 lead after the opening quarter.

After neither team could score the rest of the quarter, Trumansburg struck to start the third quarter as they converted on a 69-yard touchdown pass with 11:44 left in the half. The two-point try failed and the Blue Raiders led 12-8.

Trumansburg got a sack and forced a fumble on the next Notre Dame drive, and then the Blue Raiders quickly struck to go up 20-8 after two-point try.

Notre Dame fought right back as Stewart had a 47-yard run on second down to move into Trumansburg territory. Again Stewart and Bukowinski hooked up, this time on a 14-yard pass play with 8:12 left in the half. The two-point try failed and Trumansburg’s lead was down to 20-14.

From there it was all Blue Raiders. Including the third quarter they scored on their next four possessions, and they scored 30 points in under seven minutes of game time to pull away.

We were up I think 8-6, then we had 14, then they turned the tide,” Johnston Sr. said. “They deserve the credit, they did a really good job of coming back both on the offensive side and the defensive side. Our quarterbacks were kind of running for their lives.”

The Crusaders lost Stewart to an injury late in the half, and trailed, while battling injuries in the second half, but they never stopped fighting.

“I’m really proud of how they played in the second half,” Johnston Sr. said. “They didn’t stop playing a second and that’s what we expect. We are going to come back Monday and work hard and get ready for Edison on next Saturday.”

In just a half of play Stewart ran for 65 yards and he threw for 78 yards and two scores. Bukowinski had six grabs for 89 yards in the game.
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IN TOP PHOTO: Notre Dame's Owen Stewart. .. PHOTOS BY BRIAN FEES


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