By: Myles Hopkins ‘19 and Ryan McBrearty ‘19
Don’t let the stats fool you – two of the most dominant members on both sides of the ball who are irreplaceable are seniors Anthony Arquilla and Richard Seavers.
These names aren’t called out too often or written about in the newspaper, but are truly the unsung heroes of the Crusader football team. Anthony Arquilla is better recognized as “Shark” among his teammates. He is a 6’3’’ 195-pound wide receiver, who is known for his key blocking and clutch third-down catches.
Richard Seavers is known by many names on the field, including “Richie” and even “Cowboy.” Seavers is a 5’10” 185 pound outside linebacker. You’ll usually see “Cowboy” flying around the field, laying down big hits and setting the tone during games. These two unknown titans were finally given a chance at the spotlight as they were called upon against the Oak Park-River Forest Huskies.
Game day is approaching and the Crusaders are locked and loaded for this week’s practice. Wide receiver Anthony Arquilla feels very confident about their plan for the game.
Arquilla said, “We felt confident in our game plan and we were gonna be able to do what we wanted against this team. I have all the confidence in the world in the offensive line and the defense to get the job done for us. It shows on the field.”
Arquilla prepared for this week’s practice by going over film and studying the Huskies’ defense. Arquilla said “We spent time installing some new packages and schemes that gave us the best chance to win. I felt we had a good, competitive week of practice and it showed on the field.”
The offense prepared for the Huskies “three-stack” formation which the Crusaders offensive line doesn’t get to see a lot during the regular season. It’ll be a big change for the Crusaders, and they will have to work extra hard during this week’s practice.
“I felt very prepared for this game,” said Arquilla. “We spent time watching film and learning about what OPRF does on both sides of the ball gave us the best chance possible to come away with a win. We are gonna look to prepare the same way this week so we can take down Warren. It was a hard week of practice and film study. But I knew that this is what it takes to be a championship level team.”
The work surely paid off with the Crusaders (11-0) defeating the Huskies (8-3) in a hard fought game winning 27-17.
“After the first quarter I knew that we could beat this team,” said Arquilla, “I felt good going into the rest of the game knowing we could do what we wanted.” This silent leader of the offense shows a lot of heart and confidence for the game of football.
During the week, the Crusaders’ defense prepared for the Huskies offense, which is led by their senior quarterback Jaden McGill. Coach Malopsy said, “OPRF’s offense doesn’t run without their quarterback. Public enemy number one this week is number six (Jaden McGill).”
Seavers prepared for this week’s game by studying the opponent’s offense and took extra time going over film. He said, “Yes, our defensive coaching staff did a great job preparing us for OPRF’s offense. We knew they were a run-heavy offense, and our plan was to stop the run to put them in uncomfortable situations to throw the ball. Their quarterback was a very good athlete and very elusive. Their running backs ran very hard and surprised me with their quickness.”
The defense prepared for OPRF’s rushing attack by installing a new defensive package. Throughout the week, the team planned for the Huskies rushing attack. The Crusaders fine-tuned their strategies and prepared for Saturday night.
After Friday’s run-through practice, Seavers said, “I am pumped and ready to play, and I think we should be able to dominate this team from the first snap.”
At 6 p.m. on Saturday night, the Crusaders won the coin toss and elected to defend the south end zone. After running some successful plays, the Huskies were finally stopped by the Crusaders’ defense.
As the defense came off the field after the Huskies’ first drive, Seavers had a confident look on his face. He said, “On film, they looked a bit bigger, but their running backs really caught me off guard on their first possession. They were quick and their running back Keith Robinson (number twenty-six) made great cuts to get a big run on the first possession. The wideouts were also very good at downfield blocking which made it difficult to get tackles. After the first possession, I think our defense had a good idea of what they were trying to do and we settled in afterward very well.”
After two-quarters of light-out defense by the Crusaders, OPRF finally scored off of a flea-flicker pass to their back-up quarterback Toby Kunkel, who threw to their wide-receiver Trevon Brown for a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half.
During the third quarter, the offense struggled with moving the ball and called on the defense to keep the lead and help the Crusaders save their undefeated season. The Crusaders offense stalled during the second half.
As time ticked down, the defense was the only hope for the Crusaders to hold onto their lead. Seavers said, “All I was thinking was that we couldn’t allow them to score. It was our time to step up and we did. We haven’t really been put in that position since the Marist game, but honestly, I think it brought the best out of our defense. I never doubted our defense’s ability to get a stop when we needed it.”
After multiple 4th down stops and crucial turnovers, the Crusaders finally ended the Huskies offensive attack, which allowed quarterback John Bean to take a knee to end the game.
The Crusaders (11-0) face off against Warren Township (10-1) in the third round of the playoffs. The game will be held this Saturday at home.