Defense and special teams carried the Father Ryan football team Friday night as the Fighting Irish outlasted Brentwood 10-7 in a heated defensive battle at Giacosa Field.
Father Ryan (1-1) forced a couple of turnovers and blocked two field goal attempts as well as got pressure on a field goal that went wide left with less than a minute to go that could have tied the game, thus giving the Irish their first victory of the 2022 season.
“We actually showed some consistency besides one play which they scored on,” Father Ryan head coach Brian Rector said. “To keep up the intensity for four quarters is not easy, and I felt like we did that minus one play. And we really improved from one week to the next.
“Special teams, I don’t know if we were good, but it did go in our favor. In a game like this, you look up against a great team like this, everything matters.”
Brentwood also had a stellar night defensively. The Bruins defensive unit forced four turnovers. After Bruins quarterback Adam Fontechia threw an interception, the Brentwood defense pounced on a fumble with 2:42 remaining in the fourth quarter and Father Ryan leading 10-7.
Kyler Green and Tucker Weber each nabbed an interception for Brentwood, while James Hinson did so for Father Ryan.
Bruins wide receiver Matthew Manning had 11 total catches Friday and two of them came on the final drive to get Brentwood (1-1) into field goal range to attempt to tie things up.
The kick by Isaac Hayes went wide, but his team rallied around him after the game as they move forward to face Summit High School next week.
“That’s the same kid who stepped in and helped us win that game last week (versus Blackmon), and that’s the kid we trot out there against Summit,” Brentwood head coach Clint Finch said. “We still love him, and you have to have a short memory as a kicker and just go tee it up.”
Irish quarterback JoJo Crump opened the scoring with a 50-yard romp through the Bruin defense with 8:05 left in the first quarter.
It would be the only touchdown of the game until Manning caught a 66-yard touchdown pass from Nelson with 5:18 left in the fourth quarter.
Crump was 12-of-19 for 106 yards and two interceptions and also 78 yards and one score rushing.
Nelson finished the night 19-of-39 for 217 yards and one touchdown.
Manning went for 156 yards receiving and one touchdown on 11 catches.
The Bruins had a different look to them on Friday mostly by the way Father Ryan was forcing the ball into the air with a stacked front defensively.
Brentwood again sent quarterback Adam Fontechia into the game several times for a different look. Fontechia rushed for 13 yards and passed for 34.
“Grant is the guy, and Adam is the change up guy," Finch said. “We like to get Adam in there for the runs, but it was a tough night for that. (Father Ryan) was just not going to let us run the football.
"We got better tonight. 100 percent, I think we found some stuff. We didn’t win the one-on-one that we wanted to. Manning is tough as nails. This won’t be the last team to put eight in the box and man you up. I am willing to bet Summit might do that.”
Next week, Brentwood will travel to Summit, while Father Ryan will host Pope John Paul II.