Crusaders claim
 Class B title

Sunday, November 30, 2003 Senior Defensive tackle/offensive linemen David Williams and senior fullback/linebacker Joe Davis each had an outstanding game on defense as St. Bernard's used two third quarter TDs to turn a 6-0 halftime lead into a 19-0 fourth quarter lead.

"Williams is an awesome player, he and Joe Davis, two seniors who are just special players. They worked so hard and this is the way it should end," Mari said.

The defensive effort, combined with the stellar play of junior quarterback Keoki Burbank and the tough running of Billy Rakestraw, who had 76 yards on 21 carries, was enough to carry St. Bernard's to its first section championship since 2000.

The Crusader defense held St. Elizabeth to 130 yards in total offense, forcing the Mustangs to punt six times, and sacked Mustang QB Bakari Grant four times.

Williams, who left the game midway through the third quarter with a leg injury was a one-man wrecking crew during his time on the field. Williams got one sack, had four hurries and two tackles for loss. Davis, who had two sacks, used his speed off the edge to spend a considerable amount of time in the St. Elizabeth backfield.

St. Bernard's defense held Mustang running back Phong Nguyen, who had a three-game streak of 150 yards or more, to 96 yards on 23 carries. "Everyone saw the finish line," said Williams, whose left leg was heavily wrapped during the post-game ceremonies. "Everyone played hard and we gave it our all."

Burbank, who used his tremendous athletic ability to repeatedly escape the ferocious Mustang pass rush, overcame two first-half interceptions to finish 11-for-18 for 128 yards and a TD. It wasn't Burbank's arm that was the key -- it was his legs.

"I knew that my coach had a lot of faith in me, just this week I think he started believing in just how good I could run," Burbank said. "'I was telling coach that if I get outside to the corner nobody is going to catch me."

St. Elizabeth only caught Burbank once, with time running down in the fourth quarter. Other than that, Burbank continually managed to escape the rush and find receivers open downfield.

The game opened slowly as nerves played a role in a slow fist quarter that saw neither team sustain a drive. St. Elizabeth picked off two Burbank passes to kill drives, but the Crusader's found their way into the end zone just before halftime.

St. Bernard's took possession at its own 45 with 3:18 remaining in the second quarter and Burbank led them on a six-play drive that culminated in his 32-yard TD pass to Zach Davis with 1:36 remaining. It was Burbank's scrambling that made the play as he stepped up in the pocket and just before he reached the line of scrimmage, he launched a pass that found Davis well behind the safety who had bitten on Burbank's move.

The Crusaders opened the third quarter with an 11-play 71-yard drive, helped along by a 15-yard personal foul call against the Mustangs, that was capped off by Joe Davis' one-yard plunge, and St. Bernard's led 12-0.

Davis, who finished with 36 yards on eight carries, added his second score with a 14-yard burst up the middle with 2:55 remaining in the third to put the game out of reach, 19-0.