Football: CBA's ground assault prevails over Bethlehem

Three running backs contribute to Brothers' opening night victory

CBA running back Elliot Croskey eludes a Bethlehem defender during a Sept. 6 Empire Division game.

CBA running back Elliot Croskey eludes a Bethlehem defender during a Sept. 6 Empire Division game. Photo by Rob Jonas.

— Christian Brothers Academy entered Friday's football home opener against Bethlehem minus tailback Max Anthony, who was out with an injury. Then, the Brothers lost starting quarterback Joe Kolbe less than four minutes into the second quarter with a knee injury.

Yet, CBA kept coming with running back after running back on its way to a 32-13 victory over Empire Division rival Bethlehem.

Three tailbacks combined for 269 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Brothers. Elliot Croskey rushed for a team-high 131 yards, while Nick Marini contributed 86 yards and Nasir Tune added 52 yards.

"We're very confident in our running backs and what they can do," said CBA coach Joe Burke. "We're very deep. There are some kids on the bench who could start for other teams."

CBA's defense also came up big, as it intercepted two Dan Robeson passes and limited Bethlehem tailback Mike Graves to 52 yards on 14 carries.

The Eagles found some success by using fullback Jason Clas as a featured back out of the pistol formation in the second half. Clas had several big runs, including a 55-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter to pull Bethlehem within 13 points of CBA.

"We started using some motion, and I think that threw them a bit," said Bethlehem coach Rick Leach. "We probably should have done that in the first half, too."

After a scoreless first quarter, CBA broke through early in the second quarter. Wide receiver Alex Koshgarian caught a screen pass from Kolbe and turned down the right sideline for a 30-yard touchdown. Matt Hamel's extra point put the Brothers ahead 7-0.

Kolbe completed another pass on CBA's next offensive series, but it came at a price when he was tackled after releasing the ball. The sophomore quarterback was helped off the field and returned to the sideline for the second half with his left knee wrapped. Kolbe finished the night completing five of his nine passes for 72 yards.

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