Jesse DeLousia scored the first three touchdowns during a 27-point, fourth-quarter comeback that Susquehanna used to produce its first victory of the season, beating Holy Cross, 34-16, Saturday afternoon in a Lackawanna Football Conference Division 4 game at St. Anthony’s Playground in Dunmore.
Holy Cross led from midway through the first quarter and used a touchdown early in the third to create the 16-7 advantage it carried into the fourth quarter.
Susquehanna built its comeback around a defensive effort that began in the third quarter.
After Holy Cross scored on the third play of the second half, it managed just three yards total on its next three possessions.
An interception, a punt and a failed fourth-down attempt gave the Sabers the ball at the Crusaders 36, 32 and 27. They scored each time.
DeLousia ran 8 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter to complete the 36-yard drive that began after Auston Harvey batted a pass into the air and Carson Williams intercepted.
Colton Stone’s 11-yard scramble on fourth-and-nine made the score possible.
Kameron Sheffer made a tackle on the kickoff at the 10, with help from Luke Hilling and Jason Smith. Collin Smith’s first-down tackle for a loss, a penalty and Sheffer’s third-down, broken-up pass forced the Crusaders to punt from their end zone.
Susquehanna took over at the 32 and DeLousia, who had carried once for no gain in the first three quarters, went to work.
DeLousia carried three times and Stone hit J.J. Rosa with a 17-yard pass. DeLousia’s 5-yard run and his two-point conversion run that followed gave the Sabers their first lead, 22-16, midway through the fourth quarter.
DeLousia rushed the passer into an incompletion on third down and Spencer Beamer broke up a pass on fourth down to take the ball back in even better field position.
The Sabers added to their lead when Brad Cottrell continued a big game by running for 25 yards on the first play and DeLousia scored from the 2 two plays later.
Holy Cross hurried up the field and got as close as the 14.
But on third-and-14 from the 18 on what turned out to be the game’s final play, Beamer intercepted a pass and brought it back 86 yards for another touchdown.
Cottrell led a group of Sabers in a defensive effort that produced the first win in a season that had included a pair of one-point road losses and a three-point loss at home.
From his defensive end position, Cottrell had three sacks in the first half and forced a fumble. He finished with four tackles and three assists.
Williams, DeLousia, Collin Smith, John Michael Phillips and Harvey all contributed.
Williams had four tackles and an assist to go along with his interception. DeLousia had three tackles, including one for a loss, five assists and his pass rush. Collin Smith finished with four tackles and four assists. Phillips had a sack and another tackle for a loss among his three tackles and three assists.
Logan Tierney’s two-way effort led the way for Holy Cross, which dropped to 3-3 overall while losing its division opener. Susquehanna evened its division record at 1-1.
Tierney carried 18 times for 136 yards. He also made three tackles, assisted on five, forced a fumble and returned a first-quarter interception 40 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
Nate Cobley ran for the first two-point conversion that gave the Crusaders an extra edge.
Beamer’s 32-yard punt return to the 8 set up the first Susquehanna touchdown, which he scored on a 9-yard pass from Stone on fourth and goal. Beamer added the kick to pull the Sabers within, 8-7.
Susquehanna stopped Holy Cross on fourth down in Sabers territory twice in the second quarter on sacks by Phillips and Cottrell.
The Sabers missed a chance to take then lead when, after a Stone-to-Beamer pass for 40 yards to the 1, they fumbled from there on the next play and the Crusaders recovered in the end zone.
Holy Cross expanded its lead in the third quarter when Sean Herbert turned a short pass from Cobley into a 51-yard touchdown, then Cobley hit Fred Strein with the two-point conversion pass.
Stone finished 10-for-21 for 132 yards passing and Cottrell ran 18 times for 97 yards to lead the Susquehanna offense. Beamer caught 3 passes for 61 yards and Rosa caught 5 for 55 yards.
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