By Rudy Perez ‘24

The 2023 football season came to an abrupt end last Friday after the Crusaders fell to the Batavia Bulldogs. The Crusaders finished the season with an overall record of 5-5.

Coming into the season, there were high hopes. Unfortunately, a string of injuries and a tough schedule resulted in a sad ending.

Injuries first struck the Crusaders during their week 2 matchup against Marist. Junior linebacker and captain Christian Pierce’s season came to an end because of an ACL tear.

The very next week, senior wide receiver Rickey Taylor and senior safety Jake Dugger both broke their collarbones.

Senior wide receiver Charlie Boyer said, “It obviously hurts a lot when your best receiver, who at this point is a two-year starter, goes down. At that point, he was having a really good season. It forced the offense to have to adjust.”

Three starters down in three weeks usually has some effect on team morale; however, not for the Crusaders. The team was still able to keep spirits high, and come ready to go each Friday night.

Senior kicker Mikey Horan said, “Injuries forced a lot of role players to step up, which ultimately made our team get closer because we knew that we had to come together in order to win games.”

The team still fought to earn some big wins. The Crusaders beat the Maine South Redhawks 10-7 and clinched a playoff spot against St. Rita in the last regular season game of the year. They beat the St. Rita Mustangs 42-21.

Senior tight end Tommy Amado said, “My favorite memory from the season was the opening kick return versus Saint Rita. The energy was crazy, and everyone was cheering for us. That was the loudest I’ve ever heard Rice.”

The players were still able to make lifelong memories this season, despite going home earlier than expected. The Crusaders look to reload heading into the 2024 season.