Sep 19, 2011
When Chris Partridge took over as the head football coach at Paramus Catholic, his alma mater, his main goal was to help build the program not only back towards respectability, but back on a par with other Bergen County parochial powerhouses. Last year was a step forward with a trip to the state playoffs, but this year the bar is set even higher. While the Paladins are much younger than a year ago, they lean heavily on 6-foot-3, 240-pound two-way standout Leo Krizanovich. In Saturday’s season-opener, Krizanovich delivered and then some.
He rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns to go along with a game-high nine tackles as Paramus Catholic overcame some early struggles and eventually cruised into next week’s showdown with St. Joseph Regional with a 39-13 home win over Bergenfield.
“I think we definitely had some jitters early on, but we really hit our stride late in the second quarter,” said Partridge. “Once we opened it up, we really went into attack mode on both sides of the ball. The middle two quarters we looked pretty good, but we didn’t start off the game the way we would have liked and we didn’t finish well either. It’s certainly something we need to work on and we’ll need more focus and better execution next week against St. Joe’s.”
The Paladins took the lead on the first play of the second quarter when Krizanovich went off tackle to the left side and outraced the defense all the way to the pilon for a 16-yard TD. But the Bergenfield defense held on for most of the first half before a pair of PC sophomores started earning their stripes on the varsity level.
A big 15-yard completion from quarterback Steve Shanley to Tyrone Washington on third-and-nine kept a drive alive and set up a one-yard plunge from Krizanovich with just over three minutes to go in the half. Then after forcing a three-and-out, Shanley led the Paladins right back down the field, hitting Washington on a fade route with 22 seconds left to give PC a commanding 18-0 lead at the half.
“If we could have held it to a six-point lead, I think you might have seen a different second half and a much tighter game,” said Bergenfield head coach Rob Violante. “I thought our kids fought hard all game and we battled from the first play until the last one. But the bottom line is that when we had a good situation and they needed to make a play, they made it pretty consistently. We just couldn’t get those key stops when we needed them.”
Krizanovich’s third touchdown of the game was almost identical to his first as he swept around the left end to score. On PC’s next series, Washington put the game on ice with the play of the day and likely of the year so far. On a go route, Bergenfield cornerback Joe DeFuria leaped to make what looked to be an outstanding interception. However, Washington never gave up on the jumpball. He reached over the top to rip it away and then raced the rest of the way to pay dirt for a 57-yard score that made it 33-0.
Washington finished with five catches for 96 yards and two TDs for Paramus Catholic (1-0). Shanley finished with three TD tosses on the day with the final score going to Lamont Thomas. Corey White hauled a nine-yard scoring pass from Angel Dominguez and Will Rodriguez had a nifty run for a 17-yard TD for Bergenfield (1-1).
With Bergenfield now in the rear-view mirror, the Paladins can focus their attention on a shot at St. Joseph. Last year, they were only down a touchdown heading into the fourth quarter before running out of steam in a 35-7 loss. The Paladins hope this is finally their year to make a state and get back into the upper echelon of teams in Bergen County. A win next week would do just that.
“When you talk about the best teams in Bergen County, we want people to put Paramus Catholic in the conversation,” said Krizanovich, who recently got the first of what will likely be many Division 1 offers from the University of Akron in the MAC conference. “We know to get in the conversation, you have to play well and beat the best. I think when we raise our tempo, we raise our intensity and then we feel we can play with anyone. St. Joe’s will be a tough test, they always are. But we’re going to go give it everything we have, leave it all out on the field, and hopefully we will come out on top.”
By Rich Barton
Taken from NorthJerseySports.com