Catholic Memorial’s 30-game win streak ended in painful fashion in Florida

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Catholic Memorial’s winning streak did not survive a trip south.

Luke Warnock threw for a pair of touchdowns while the Cardinal Newman defense forced two key turnovers that led to 14 points as the host Crusaders defeated Catholic Memorial, 35-2, on Friday night.

The loss for the Knights snaps a Massachusetts-high 30-game winning streak that dates back to the 2019 Division 1 Super Bowl versus St. John’s Prep. Perhaps more notably, the Knights lost three players to potential season-ending injuries, including star running back Mekhi Dodd.

“We got guys banged up tonight. We may have lost three key guys,” Catholic Memorial coach John DiBiaso said. “I’ve come down here before. Unfortunately, we had no other options. We had to come down. We needed the game.”

Cardinal Newman (4-0) held a 7-0 lead just before the half courtesy of a a J’bo Brown two-yard touchdown run but the Knights seem poised to head into the locker room within striking distance. Facing a fourth and two on its own 32-yard line and 2.4 seconds remaining in the half, DiBiaso appeared to want to kneel the ball as time expired in the frame.

The Knights, however, knelt on the ball too quickly, forcing a turnover on downs with 1.2 seconds left. The Crusaders took advantage as Warnock hit Nae’Shaun Montgomery for a 32-yard Hail Mary and a 14-0 halftime lead.

The Knights got on the board early in the third quarter on a safety, but the visitors proceeded to fumble the ensuing free kick. Warnock again helped the Crusaders capitalize on a mistake as he faked a bubble screen and then hit Dallas Desouza for a 13-yard touchdown and a 21-2 advantage. Xanai Scott put the game on ice with a 67-yard scoop and score for the hosts.

“We made too many mistakes. We’re supposed to take the knee before the half but we screw it up. Otherwise it’s 7-0 at the half,” DiBiaso said. “It doesn’t benefit when you lose three key guys. It’s different down here. It’s a different speed for sure.”

Catholic Memorial returns home to face off against St. Francis (N.Y.) on Sept. 23 at noon.

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