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Crusaders rush past Gilchrist

The St. Mary's Crusaders have been on the short end of some lopsided scores in recent years.

Saturday afternoon at Spiegelberg Stadium, they turned the tables.

Alex Duncan ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns as the Crusaders jumped to a 46-0 halftime lead and coasted to a 46-13 Southern Cascade League victory over Gilchrist.

The game was the league-opener for both teams.

We went into halftime with smiles on our faces and no adjustments to be made, St. Mary's coach Dick Maurer said. That's quite a switch from a year ago.

The Crusaders failed to win a game in 1997. Saturday marked their third victory against two losses this fall.

We're in uncharted territory now, Maurer said. And winning our opening league game was a real nice step for us.

Duncan, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound sophomore who had never played football prior to this season, got a nice block from 265-pound tackle Robert Rodriguez at the line of scrimmage, stumbled as he veered to the outside, regained his balance and then used his speed to outrun the Gilchrist secondary for the 67-yard score.

He's a real quick kid, he's a 400-meter runner in track, Maurer said of Duncan. He's been on the verge of breaking one for a couple of weeks and today he did it. He's still learning how to be a running back as far as keeping his pads low, spinning when he gets hit and that sort of thing. But he's getting markedly better every week. It's fun to watch.

Alex Stephenson got the Crusaders on the board early with a 2-yard run and St. Mary's star J.P. Naumes followed with a 45-yard touchdown.

Duncan then went on his long TD run and followed up with 15-yard scamper.

When freshman Nick Alston crossed the goal line a couple of minutes later, the Crusaders had a 38-0 lead and the first period was not quite over.

Naumes finished with 90 yards on seven carries to push his season rushing total to 901.

St. Mary's wound up with 416 yards in total offense, including 383 on the ground.

Defensively, inside linebackers Aaron Brazille and Gabe Winfrey and safety Tracy Terrall had interceptions, while interior linemen Dan Vezzani, Joe Chambers and Andy Erickson negated Gilchrist's running game.

The Grizzlies did manage to register 220 yards passing, but most of that real estate came in the second half after the outcome was decided.

They had some starters missing and that made a difference, Maurer said. But our kids played pretty well.

Most of these kids played last year and really took their lumps. Now they're reaping the benefits.

Gilchrist......................... 0 0 0 13 -- 13 St. Mary's ......................38 8 0 0 -- 46

SM -- Stephenson 2 run (Naumes run). SM -- Naumes 45 run (Naumes pass from Gibson). SM -- Duncan 67 run (Naumes pass from Gibson). SM -- Duncan 15 run (Alston run). SM -- Alston 9 run (pass failed). SM -- Duncan 29 run (Emrick run). G -- Haynes 32 TD pass (kick failed) G -- Haynes 4 TD pass (Page kick).