Locust stars as Cardinal Newman, despite losing starting quarterback, tops Atlantic in overtime

WEST PALM BEACH — Cardinal Newman junior running back Jaylin Brown rushed for a winning 10-yard touchdown in overtime to lift the host Crusaders to a 13-7 victory against Atlantic in a highly anticipated matchup on Friday night.

Cardinal Newman battled adversity and delivered a resilient effort after standout senior quarterback Luke Warnock was injured on a tackle after he scrambled to his right outside the pocket late in the first quarter. Coach Jack Daniels said Warnock dislocated his left shoulder and he will be sidelined for multiple games.

Cardinal Newman (4-0) remained unbeaten and delivered a strong performance on defense, which was anchored by defensive tackle Ta’Narie Locust. The senior wreaked havoc in the backfield, recorded multiple sacks and had an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown in the victory.

“I am very proud of myself that I lived up to the expectations that I put out for myself,” Locust said.

Atlantic (4-1) had the first possession in overtime and was poised to jump ahead after senior running back Da’Marion Alberic rushed for a 9-yard gain toward the goal line. Atlantic, however, fumbled the snap on back-to-back plays, including on fourth-and-goal at the 1.

Daniels praised his team’s effort on defense in the victory.

“They have been like that all year,” Daniels said. “We gave up some plays, but they never quit. I think Ta’Narie was responsible for all those fumbles under center. He was playing over the nose. He won that ballgame for us. I love being around the kid. He is never negative. He just does his job. He works so hard. He is just a phenomenal kid.”

Brown took a handoff and exploded for a 10-yard touchdown run on the next play to win the game.

“It felt unbelievable,” Brown said. “The offensive line made me look good. I am more than happy for myself.”

The teams were locked in a scoreless tie at halftime. Cardinal Newman sophomore Jyron Hughley stepped in at quarterback and had a 38-yard touchdown run called back after a holding penalty in the first half.

Locust had an 18-yard interception return for a score on the second play of the second half to give the Crusaders a 7-0 advantage with 11:18 left in the third.

Atlantic marched downfield on their next possession to the Crusaders 15.  Cardinal Newman senior Kevin Levy, a Rutgers commit, recorded an interception at the 2-yard line to preserve the lead.

The Crusaders offense mishandled a high snap to the quarterback on their next drive, which resulted in the Eagles taking over at the 6-yard line. After the play, the teams had an altercation on the field. The game was delayed after both teams were sent to their sidelines and officials convened to assess penalties.

Atlantic capitalized on the ensuing possession. On third-and-goal, junior quarterback Lincoln Graf rolled out to his left for a 3-yard touchdown run to make it 7-7 with 4:12 left in the third quarter.

The Crusaders offense had a potential scoring chance, but they lost a fumble at the Eagles 36.

The Eagles had an opportunity late in the fourth as Graf converted on fourth-and-1 at the Crusaders 46. Graf also had a third-down conversion on a run to the Crusaders 31. The Crusaders stepped up on defense as Devon Byrd recorded a sack and the Eagles were forced to punt.

The Crusaders reached the Eagles 35 on the final possession of regulation before a holding penalty stalled the drive.

Hughley will make his first start at quarterback for Cardinal Newman when they host Miami Northwestern next Friday.