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Holy Cross shows age, fails to score in crushing loss

Holy Cross Coach Tom Pugh said his team fed too much into its near upset of St. Anthony's last week. Photo by Robert Cole
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Holy Cross hasn’t played all season like a young football team. The Knights’ highly touted sophomores had performed well beyond their years and nearly pulled a stunning upset of league power St. Anthony’s last week.

But Holy Cross really looked its age against Mount St. Michael.

“The week of practice was terrible,” Knights Coach Tom Pugh said. “They were still walking around getting patted on the back — for what, I don’t know. We lost.”

The overconfidence led to a more humbling defeat this time as the Knights were thoroughly beaten 43-0 by the Mountaineers in a CHSAL Class AAA game Saturday in the Bronx. Holy Cross turned the ball over eight times. Usually sure-armed quarterback Yianni Gavalas threw four of the team’s six interceptions and Cross (3-2, 2-2 ‘AAA’) also lost two fumbles.

“We’ve done it many, many times against teams — they played great and then next week we’ve killed them,” Pugh said. “This is typical of our league.”

His team had distinguished itself as one of the league’s premier teams in the early season with wins over Xaverian and Holy Trinity and a 29-19 loss to St. Anthony’s that saw Cross enter the fourth quarter with a lead.

Mount (2-2, 2-2), ranked No. 8 in the CHSFL by the New York Post, came into the game losers of two straight by a combined three points and led just 7-0 at halftime Sunday. Its defense stopped the third-ranked Holy Cross offense twice on fourth down deep in Mount territory, including a pick in the end zone by Najae Brown.

“We knew that’s why they got the first one,” the coach said. “We gave them a short field.”

Bruce Parker Jr.’s first of two inceptions to start the second half got the rout started. Pugh said his seniors, just three on defense, need to step up moving forward. The young Knights need to stop buying into the hype around them.

“Young kids read papers and they believe it,” Pugh said. “Seniors in this league know you don’t read papers. You got to play week to week. As soon as you think you’re good that’s when you get your [butt] kicked.”

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