Faith Lutheran coach Vernon Fox put together a brutal early schedule to test his team before it started Northwest League play and to prepare the Crusaders for a possible playoff run.
The Crusaders (6-4, 5-1 Northwest) passed their final test of league play with a resounding 41-12 blowout win at Bonanza on Thursday night.
Now, the Crusaders – the Northwest’s No. 2 seed – turn their attention to the playoffs.
“There were a lot of lessons that we learned along the way,” Faith Lutheran head coach Vernon Fox said. “There were some tough times, and there were some times where we could celebrate. But ultimately it has been about getting better every week. There were a lot of things that we were able to take from the regular season that will help us grow. We had a tough non-conference schedule, and those things have really prepared us for conference play. Overall, I’m proud of the team.”
The Crusaders wasted little time by quickly putting away the overmatched Bengals (2-8, 0-6).
Quarterback Sagan Gronauer threw touchdown passes to Keagan Touchstone and Peyton Thornton in the first 4 minutes, 11 seconds of the game. Touchstone also recovered a fumble in the end zone to give the Crusaders a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“We say every week that we want to start fast and finish strong,” Fox said. “Sometimes we’ve been inconsistent with that and we know that. It’s something that we try to focus on and be intentional about and work on. They did a good job tonight. They came out all guns blazing, made a lot of plays early and gave us an opportunity to get some guys out on the field and rest some guys, too.”
Gronauer carved up the Bonanza defense en route to 244 passing yards and three touchdowns. Gronauer, who completed 15 of 18 passes, also scored on a 4-yard touchdown run for the Crusaders, who led 41-0 at halftime.
Keagan Touchstone, a senior wide receiver/defensive back, also had a night to remember as he caught Gronauer’s first touchdown pass of the night, recovered a fumble in the end zone for a score and returned an interception for a touchdown. Fox said Touchstone now has 13 career interceptions at Faith Lutheran.
“I’m always humble about it,” Touchstone said. “It’s a blessing to be out on the field, and I definitely couldn’t do it without the rest of my guys, without Sagan and my whole defensive unit. It’s an awesome feeling just to contribute that much and be able to help our team get the W.”
Despite ending their season with a blowout loss, the Bengals had a memorable night also as Richard Curry, a Special Olympian and three-year football manager, scored on a 25-yard touchdown run to end the game.
Curry was the Bengals’ leading rusher.
Bonanza Richard Curry, a Special Olympic athlete and 3-year football manager, scores on a 25 yard touchdown run for the Bengals against the Faith Lutheran Crusaders. The senior wants to be a talk show host like @DrPhil in a few years. #nvprepsfb pic.twitter.com/q6KhJwCdiP
— Robert Horne (@wrhorne) October 26, 2018