Neumann-Goretti survives close call to beat Northeast

It couldn’t get much closer Friday afternoon when Neumann-Goretti narrowly escaped host Northeast, 8-7.

The margin of victory may have been slim, but the ample midsection of Saints senior lineman Justin Johnson — almost — clinched the victory outright with just 1 minute, 14 seconds remaining.

The 6-foot-7, 355-pound Oregon commit snacked on a fumble at the 8-yard line with the Vikings only needing a touchdown or field goal to take the lead.

“Technically, yeah,” Johnson laughed. “My belly fell on it so I know I recovered it. I know I recovered it with all that weight down there.”

After the game, Saints coach Albie Crosby joked with Johnson, “what, you thought it was a Big Mac?”

“I had a little lunch so it probably could have been a Big Mac to me,” Johnson joked later. “I had a grilled chicken wrap [though] before the game. I had a healthy lunch.”

The Saints (2-0) weren’t yet safe, however.

Backed up at their own 5-yard line and guarding a one-point lead with less than 30 seconds left, the Saints handed the ball to stud running back Leddie Brown, who was immediately tackled in the backfield by Northeast senior linebacker Kyle Morasch.

The power of the hit, which occurred at the 1-yard line forced Brown into the end zone, which elicited an eruption by the Northeast sideline because it believed a safety was awarded and two points were forthcoming.

By rule, however, the officials spotted the ball at the 1-yard line because of Brown’s forward progress.

Early offense by both teams was nearly nonexistent in the first half. By halftime, the Saints mustered only three first downs, while the Vikings had just one.

That could be the result of neither team having much time to prepare.

The Saints were scheduled to play Germantown Academy on Saturday, but the Patriots cancelled the game.

“I’m just honored and thankful that coach [Phil] Gormley allowed us to play,” Crosby said. “If they got that safety and [won], I still would have been grateful for the opportunity to play.”

Morasch was a major disrupter for the Vikings all day as was senior lineman DeShawn McCarthy.

Northeast (1-2) took a 7-0 lead after senior running back Daniel Scott squirted through a scrum, emerged missing a shoe, but still scored from 24 yards out with 2 minutes, 8 seconds left in the third.

The Saints responded with a Chris Wells rushing touchdown from 16 yards out that was set up by a 76-yard catch and run by Jaron Macon. Charles Britt hit Tre’Sean Bouie for the decisive 2-point conversion.

“We know we started off rough today,” Macon said. “We’re a new team. We’re developing, so we just had to stick together like last week.”

The Saints trailed Interboro early last week before scoring 26 points in 1 minute, 49 seconds en route to a 54-25 triumph.

“This [today] just shows that guys have competitive energy and will fight through adversity and finish strong,” Johnson said.

Brown finished with 84 yards on 19 carries. Macon added two catches for 87 yards.

Scott finished with 92 yards on 14 carries.

Box

Neumann-Goretti   0 0 0 8 8

Northeast 0 0 7 0 7

NE: Daniel Scott 24 run. Andre Cunha kick

NG: Chris Wells 16 run. Tre’Sean Bouie pass from Charles Britt