Knights Get Payback On Celts

In a matchup of two of the top junior quarterbacks in the state, Kasdorf and the Knights come out on top and overtake Bennett and the Celts...

Despite it being Halloween night, the stands were packed in Encino on Friday night as the Crespi Carmelite Celts played host to their league rivals, the Notre Dame Knights. For the past few years, it has been these two teams that have been battling it out for the top spot in the Serra league, and while some notable names have moved on, both teams remain as talented as ever, and it all starts at the quarterback position.

Last year, the much-anticipated matchup between current Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Dayne Crist and current UCLA Bruin Kevin Prince did not come to fruition after Prince went down for the season in Crespi's opening game. But despite the loss of their senior leader Prince, the Celts found that they had a pretty good signal caller in Bryan Bennett. Bennett, who is still yet only a junior, led Crespi to a 23-3 victory over the Knights in his sophomore year, and thus far in the ‘08-'09, has had a good season, throwing for over 500 yards and 5 touchdowns while leading the Celts to a 6-1 recording coming into Friday's game.

For the Knights, the season has been a tremendous success to say the least. Despite the loss of a US Army All-American quarterback in Crist, there has been no drop off to current junior Ryan Kasdorf. Kasdorf looks like anything but a young and inexperienced quarterback. In his first season as the Knights starting quarterback, Kasdorf has established new school records for passing yards, but more importantly, has led his team to an undefeated record despite most pre-season critics believing the Knights to struggle this year.

On Friday night, however, the Knights got their revenge for the previous year's defeat, and much of their success was thanks to their explosive offense and stalwart defense.

It was business as usual for Kasdorf and the Knights as they got off to quick start, scoring on their opening drive on a touchdown strike from Kasdorf to senior receiver James Flynn. Crespi answered back, however, and at first, it looked as though this was going to be a very competitive game between two rivals. After tying the score on a Jeremiah McKibbins 6-yard run, the Celts took the lead on a field goal with 10:05 remaining in the first half.

However, it would be the last time the Celts smelled the endzone until the fourth quarter, as Kasdorf and crew took control of the game from thereon out.

First, the Knights cut into the Celts' short-lived lead on a safety as junior linebacker Wayne Swinson took down Bennett in his own endzone. On the Knight's ensuing possession, Kasdorf found Tyler Ruiz, on 4th and 5 from the Celts' 36-yard line, to give Notre Dame a 17-10 lead following a successful 2-point conversion.

From there on, the night proved to be the Ryan Kasdorf-James Flynn show. Kasdorf found Flynn two more times, one on a 26-yard strike to close out the 1st half, and the other, a 49-yard bomb to open the 2nd for the Knights.

Notre Dame added another score in the 3rd on a 1-yard punch in by Kenny Boggs to make the score, 37-10 with 1:14 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Crespi struggled throughout the game to get anything going on offense. The Knights secondary did an excellent job in coverage, batting down a number of well-thrown balls, while also showing great pursuit against the run. As evidence, Bennett's lone touchdown pass in the game came off a tipped ball that found its way into the hands of Celts wide receiver Max Segal.

Notre Dame improves to 8-0 and looks to remain undefeated in league play as they travel to take on the Loyola Cubs next Friday. The Celts drop to 6-2 and 0-1 in league play. They look to rebound next week at Bishop Amat.

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