You couldn't ask for a better season if you're a supporter of the Christian Brothers Academy football team.
The Brothers did what not too many people expected this season. After winning the Section II, class AA title with an 18-0 win over Colonie, they advanced to the state semifinals at Dietz Stadium in Kingston and faced the arduous task of trying to stop powerhouse Monroe-Woodbury. The team from Rockland County, who captured last season's state title, moved on to this season's class AA championship game after stunning CBA 21-0 last Friday night.
They're 24-0 (the last two seasons), and they're a very tough team, said CBA coach Jim Smith. "It's not how I wanted this season to end for our kids, but it was a great run."
The Crusaders, who have depended on senior quarterback Greg Sullivan all season, took a 7-0 lead after Sullivan ran in for a 30-yard touchdown with 1:55 left in the second quarter. The drive was set up when CBA quarterback Jim O'Brien was intercepted by Monroe-Woodbury's Dan Mauriello at CBA's 40.
The score could have been different had it not been for two defensive stops by CBA, including one where the Brothers forced a Monroe-Woodbury fum-ble at the CBA 3-yard line.
"We played really well on defense," said Smith. "I felt defensively we could play with them, but they were tough."
Monroe-Woodbury came out strong in the second half. The Crusaders drove down the field on their first possession before Sullivan scored on an 8-yard run.
Sullivan rounded out his three-touchdown night with a 3-yard scoring run with 9:46 left in the game. He finished with 115 yards passing and 79 yards rushing.
"Sullivan is a special talent and he proved to be the difference in the game," Smith said.
Meanwhile, CBA never got its offense going, thanks to a strong defensive effort from Monroe-Woodbury. The Brothers were limited to 55 yards and three first downs, and they crossed midfield only once.
The Brothers finished with a 7-4 record.""