Comeback Victory for the Crusaders


Marcello Blanco

Captain John Thomson (#32) fires up his fellow Crusaders during the fourth quarter of their game against the Panthers.

Up until there were ten minutes left in the game, it looked like the Crusaders would still be without a win for the season. However, Faith would not be denied, rattling off twenty unanswered points to pull off the comeback against the Palo Verde Panthers.

The game almost started off with a bang for the Panthers when they ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown, only for it to be called back due to a penalty. After that the score would be held even at 0-0 until Faith would fumble the ball at their own 23-yard line, giving it over to Palo, and they would score a few plays later off a Chamere Thomas touchdown run. Palo would convert a two-point play, and the score would be 8-0 Panthers at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Faith would get a golden opportunity to score after Palo Verde fumbled while trying to punt away the football, giving the Crusaders the ball at the opposing 15-yard line. They would get halted right at the 2-yard line after choosing to go for it on fourth-down, and the first half would end with no change in the score.

The second half would fare no better for the Crusaders, with the Panthers forcing a safety, leaving the score at 10-0 with 11:34 in the third quarter, and starting quarterback Sagan Gronauer would leave the game with a foot injury. Palo would score right on their next drive off a long Chamere Thomas run where he broke several tackles on his way to the end zone, making the score 17-0 Palo with 9:06 left in the third quarter. He would finish the game with 260 rushing yards and two touchdowns off of 37 carries.

Conor Paravia, an all-purpose player for the Crusaders who lined up at quarterback once Gronauer got injured, sparked the crazy comeback with a one-yard touchdown run at the 10:11 to make the score 17-7. The ensuing drive Faith would force a fumble which junior linebacker Nate Meridith would recover, giving Faith prime field position to score. On the very next play Faith would take advantage of the opportunity, scoring a touchdown off a freak play where Paravia  fumbled the snap, picked the ball, evaded a Panther defender and found a wide open Elijah Kothe for a 30-yard touchdown pass to make the score 17-14 Palo with 8:11 in the game. The Crusaders’ defense would make another big stop, and on their next drive running back Saundre Spiller would score off a 52-yard run right down the middle of the Panther defense. Faith would end up missing their extra point attempt, leaving the Panthers just over four minutes to tie up the game. The Crusader defense held firm for the next two drives, and with ten seconds left freshman linebacker Maa Gaoteote would end Palo’s hopes with a sack, giving the ball back to Faith.

Faith Lutheran (1-3) faces the Legacy Longhorns (4-1) this coming Thursday at Legacy, and Palo Verde (1-3) plays the Del Sol Dragons (2-2) next Thursday at home.