Updated: November 22, 2012 6:38AM
With a playoff berth on the line Friday night, Brother Rice’s Chris Rozell wasted no time getting the Crusaders started on the right foot.
The junior returned the game’s opening kickoff 85 yards for a score as Brother Rice raced to a huge halftime lead in a 44-12 win over Leo at St. Xavier University.
“I think it really set the momentum with that first score,” Rozell said. “The coaches told me all week just run as fast as I can, and I knew I could take it back.”
Brother Rice improved to 5-4 and is eligible for the state playoffs.
The special-teams touchdown opened the first-half floodgates for the Crusaders. Working with a lead, quarterback Matt Page (16-of-26, 298 yards) put together a monster first half, throwing for three touchdowns and running for two (22 and 2 yards).
Page found Luke Mueller (5 catches, 62 yards) for a 4-yard score, Malik Moody (2 catches, 80 yards) for a 70-yard strike and closed the first half with a 40-yard Hail Mary pass to Brendan McGinley (2 catches, 92 yards).
“We were ready to play and wanted to bounce back from that Loyola loss,” Page said. “We wanted that momentum heading into the playoffs and mostly everything on our offense was clicking that first half.”
Danny Johnson and Erich Lieser had interceptions for Brother Rice.
Leo closed at 4-4.