Landon Shuts Out St. Paul’s, 24-0

BETHESDA, MD- Amidst the late summer humidity, Landon put together a dominant victory in front of their fans Friday afternoon. The visiting St. Paul’s Crusaders proved to be no match for the Bears, as they cruised to a 24-0 shutout win at William H. Triplett Field. Landon donned their home brown uniforms as they took the field for their home opener.  They were looking to build off their Week 1 victory against John Carroll, a game in which the defense also did not allow any points.

The two offenses took awhile to get things going, trading several possessions before either of the teams got close to the end zone. Late in the first quarter, Landon finally opened the scoring on a pitch play that capped a lengthy drive for the Bears.  It appeared that the Bears’ touchdown had woken up the sleepy Crusaders offense, as they moved the ball to the Bears’ 30-yard line on the ensuing drive. It was there that the Landon defense stiffened up. 

On a crucial third down, the Bears came up with a massive sack that pushed St Paul’s out of field goal range.  After teasing the idea of going for it on a long fourth down, Landon ultimately took a delay-of-game penalty and punted.  The Bears quickly moved the ball downfield on their next drive. With two minutes remaining in the half, senior kicker Chase Roberston added a field goal to make it 10-0.

The key play of the game occurred on the ensuing St. Paul’s drive. At first, the Crusader offense was moving the ball successfully with several chunk passing plays. With just over a minute left in the first half, they had made it close to midfield. That momentum was completely halted when senior Troy Ulisney came out of nowhere in the secondary on a pass from the St. Paul’s quarterback.  Ulsiney undercut the route of the receiver and snagged the ball out of the air for an interception. Then, he was off to the races. He barely broke stride after the interception, bolting all the way to the end zone for a pick six that busted open the game. At the half, it was 17-0 Bears.

The Landon defense continued to dominate in the second half. After the teams traded quick possessions, the Landon defensive line forced a fumble from the St Paul’s running back as they were approaching midfield.  A recurring theme of the game was St. Paul’s offense initially moving the ball, getting close to midfield, and then getting nowhere after that.

Landon’s offense fed off the team’s ferocious defense the whole game.  Late in the third quarter, they would add another score. While much of the yardage that Landon gained was on the ground, quarterback Nathan Furgeson was in command of the offense from the get-go, picking apart the St Paul’s defense with quick, efficient passes.  He made very few mistakes throughout the entire night. After three quarters, it was 24-0 Bears. This felt like the death blow for the Crusaders, especially with their inability to get anything going offensively.

The score held for the remainder of the game, and St Paul’s had officially suffered their first loss of the season, falling to 2-1. Landon improved to 2-0 on the year. The main takeaway from the game has to be the Landon defense. Eight quarters into the season, the defense still has not given up a point. The defensive line made it very hard for the Crusaders’ running backs to get anywhere.  Turnovers were also a huge factor in this game. Landon is going to be very hard to beat if they continue to smother every offense they face.  On the offensive side of the ball, the Bears had no problem moving the ball and getting points. Landon will have plenty of time to savor in their victory.  They will be off next weekend for their bye. On September 22, they will host Potomac School out of McLean, VA.

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