Battle of the Neighborhood: This Year the Raiders Emerge Victorious Over the Crusaders
Northeast Philly has many neighborhoods rivalries and each claim to be the best, but nothing compares to Archbishop Ryan Raiders vs. Father Judge Crusaders. Not only is this rivalry nationally ranked, but it is one of the strongest rivalries in Philly. Both sides of the stands are packed with crowds from every neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia. Conversations in the crowd are more than just chants and hoorahs, there are also memories from past games and glory days to relive.
Father Judge comes in 1-2 after losing to Ridley in the opener. Junior quarterback Shane Dooley looks to take the reigns over and continue Judge's success over its neighborhood rival, the Archbishop Ryan Raiders.
Archbishop Ryan is 1-2 after losing to Bartram to a very close game, 22-21, and falling to St. Joesph’s Collegiate Academy, (not St. Joe’s Prep) 38-14. Jahlil Sanders, a transfer, is the Raiders quarterback and a dual threat type of player. If a play breaks down, he can scramble to make plays happen. Moreover, Coach Frank McArdle was locked in on this week. "Obviously this is a game we mark down on our schedule and we want to come out here and show what we can do, so I'm really excited," McArdle said.
Ryan's running game started off really good and they took the ball 70 yards in seven minutes for the first score of the game, making it 7-0.
Judge received the ball only to get stopped three and out. During the punt, the long snap was airmailed over the punter’s head and the Raiders recovered possession on Father Judge’s 13. Archbishop Ryan would eventually score, making it 13-0.
On Judge's next possession, quarterback Shane Dooley found wide receiver Steve Arrington for 48 yards and the touchdown, which made it 13-6.
Jahlil Sanders lead an impressive drive before halftime, completing multiple difficult throws on the run and on the money to Ryan's receivers, including a 32-yard bomb and one handed catch by #9. In the red zone, Ryan was faced with a third down and Jahlill Sanders went Lamar Jackson style and spun his way into the end zone, bringing the score to 20-6.
"We need to keep stopping the run because their quarterback (Dooley) is having a great half, we need to contain him," McArdle said.
Father Judge received the ball at halftime. Let me just highlight Archbishop Ryan's kicker: He may be the biggest player the Raiders have and he perfected the "High Florida right kick" coach Frank McArdle mastered. Quick comparison, one of Archbishop Ryan's previous kickers is the former Penn State kicker Joey Julius.
The Crusaders utilized the stretch run play to gain most of their yardage in the opening drive in the second half. Quarterback Shane Dooley scrambled for a first down on a crucial third and long. Dooley stood tall in the pocket and converted on a fourth down to continue the drive deep in Raiders territory. This is all the same drive to open the half; the Crusaders started from their own 30-yard line and basically owned the whole third quarter in time of possession. However, the Raiders held strong and stopped the Crusaders and their dominate drive. On an eight minute drive for Father Judge, they scored zero points.
Archbishop Ryan had an amazing trick play, a reverse to #9, but it was called back due to a holding penalty. That was the end of the third quarter. Ryan still controlled the lead with 20-6.
Shane Dooley led a very intense and clutch drive all the way down the field, and completed a long pump and go to his favorite target, Steve Arrington, which put Judge into scoring position. Judge finished the drive with a PA bootleg in the red zone; Dooley found his tight end Michael Dwyer wide open in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown. This made the score 20-13 at the four minute mark and obviously set this intense game up for a dramatic ending.
Father Judge held their own and stopped Ryan from running out too much of the clock, and the Crusaders took the game tying drive from the 32-yard line. With less than two minutes to play, Archbishop Ryan sent no pressure, giving Shane Dooley the opportunity to step up in the pocket and find his receivers streaking across the middle. A timeout was called and you can feel the crowd getting very anxious to see what was going to happen. A late holding penalty was called on Father Judge, sending them back all the way to Ryan's 30-yard line after starting from the 12. On fourth down with 17.5 seconds left, Shane Dooley was pressured and floated one up. This led to an interception by Archbishop Ryan and that was the game.
Archbishop Ryan won 20-13 and a timeless rivalry once again proved to be the highlight of a lot of Northeast Philly football fans. Archbishop Ryan earned their first victory in the Philadelphia Catholic league and Judge fell to 1-3.
"Such an amazing feeling this one is for the seniors and the guys who couldn't play tonight and I'm so proud of my guys," McArdle said.
Photo Credit: Jack Kapp