PITTSFIELD -- Seeing his teammates struggle to find space on the outside against Taconic on Friday night, Jon Bianchi had a halftime suggestion.
The St. Joseph’s quarterback huddled with his dad, coach Gary Bianchi, and offensive coordinator Jack Quinn at the break. The three decided to use more of the quarterback up the middle against a Braves defense keying on Lavante Wiggins and Tank Roberson.
"I told coach Quinn, I think that if we sneak it a lot I can get some good yards," Jon Bianchi said. "I knew on my runs I was going to run hard and get all the yards that I could."
Bianchi racked up 51 of his 58 yards in the second half, helping the Crusaders rally from a halftime deficit to post a 18-8 victory at Wahconah Park. The senior also threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Wiggins on fourth down that put St. Joe’s up for good in the third quarter.
Wiggins had 81 yards himself -- 41 on a game-clinching drive that lasted 8 minutes, 41 seconds in the fourth quarter -- and another score on the ground.
"Coach Quinn did a nice job of reaching into the playbook: going quads, changing up and making them adjust to get some guys out of the box," Gary Bianchi said. "That opened it up. Jonny played great."
The Crusaders (4-1, 3-1 Berkshire County) struggled a bit in the first half after an opening-drive touchdown run by Bianchi. The Braves (2-3, 2-3) answered with a 17-play, 78-yard drive to take an 8-6 lead on a Jordan Pasquarelli 5-yard run. They followed that up with two huge stops, forcing a fumble at the end of the first half and stuffing Roberson to start the second after his kickoff return put St. Joe’s inside the Taconic 5-yard line.
That’s when Bianchi took over.
When St. Joe’s second drive of the second half seemed to stall, the quarterback rolled out and hit Wiggins in the end zone with perhaps the biggest play of the game.
"We were keying on Lavante so much, we forgot about [Bianchi]," said Braves coach Vin Barbarotta. "I told them he could take off. I expected him to waggle and then take off. Then, he stops and throws. There’s so many weapons."
Barbarotta said his team wore down as the game went on. Taconic is dealing with a plethora of injuries, including Barbarotta’s son Jordan, who missed the game with an illness. Quarterback Troy Ziter also had to leave Friday’s game.
Taconic couldn’t put together another drive like that one in the first half, gaining just a pair of first downs after halftime. Pasquarelli’s 31 yards on the ground led the team.
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