The Western Crusaders started their 2013 senior mens season with a hard fought win on Saturday over the Berwick Miners in Endeavor Hills.

Missing week one of the Gridiron Victoria season with a bye, the Western Crusaders started very slowly, allowing the Miners to score on the opening kickoff of the game. It didn’t take long for the Crusaders offense to get the momentum back with an 11 yard Touchdown strike from Quarterback, #9 Clinton Downing to last years Gridiron Victoria Most Valuable Player, #36 Tyson Garnham in the corner of the endzone.

The Crusaders offense did benefit from an attacking the defense that was forcing turnovers wherever possible,  with #28 Andrew “Chewy” Yeung intercepting a pass and #53 Chris Schlegel, recovering a forced fumble from #41 Ryan “RJ” Raquel and #45 Bernard Jay Sison, giving the Crusaders offense plenty of supply of the ball.

The Crusaders offense couldn’t finish the hard work of its next two drives, both of them ending in interceptions, one of them bein intercepted in the endzone. The Miners then got very lucky on a broken play and a missed opportunity for the Cru defense that turned into a massive touchdown pass for the Miners.

The Crusaders Defense stepped up once again with #28 Andrew “Chewy” Yeung, who came up with his second interception of the game, giving the Western Crusaders offense a chance to score with a little over a minute left before half time.  Cru Quarterback #9 Clinton Downing then connected on a long sideline pass to #84 Ed Ebinger for a touchdown. The Crusaders defense then came up big again with another fumble recovery giving the chance for the Crusaders to score again before the end of the half. An epic 4th down, 49 yard catch and run from #36 Tyson Garnham had the  Cru sideline on its feet, only to end up one yard short of  the endzone and scoring the go ahead touchdown.

The score was 12 – 12 at half time.

The beginning of the second half started with a bang for the Western Crusaders with #28 Andrew “Chewy” Yeung returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Most of the rest of second half was an arm wrestle with the Crusaders offense moving the ball, but not being able to convert the drives and hard work into scores. The stalemate was broken when #41 Ryan “RJ” Raquel intercepted a Miners pass and returned it for a touchdown.

The Western Crusaders were up 24-12 towards the end of the fourth quarter, until a couple of  Pass Interference calls put the Miners well within scoring range. The Crusaders Defense held the Miners out for as long as possible, but finally broke after yet another penalty.

The final score was Western Crusaders 24 Defeating the Berwick Miners 18. This sets up a massive showdown next week as the Western Crusaders take on the Croydon Rangers, who after two straight losses are looking to bounce back with a victory against the Crusaders at L.E. Cotchin Reserve in Reservoir on Saturday.