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WEEK #2: Holy Cross 30, Lafayette 12

Sept. 18, 1999

TOWSON, MD - Lafayette dropped its second Patriot League contest in a row, this time to Holy Cross, 30-12 at Fitton Field in front of 4170 fans. The Leopards again fell victim to the turnover bug, and gave up 14 defensive points in the loss.

The Leopards found themselves down by 12 points less than five minutes into the game, as Holy Cross scored two defensive touchdowns. The first score came on a 30-yard interception return just 51 seconds into the game by John Aloisi. Less than four minutes later, Ben Berger fell on a fumble in the end zone to give the hosts a 12 point lead.

"There's absolutely no reson to start the game the way we did," said Head Coach Bill Russo. "It's inexcusable."

Lafayette, however, came back to tighten the score at 12-6 as Ryan Hiles (Connelsville, PA/Connelsville) recovered a fumble at the Holy Cross 20-yard line. Four plays later, Brian Tuma (Lebanon Township, NJ/Voorhees) busted into the end zone from five yards out.

The Crusader offense was not to be denied, though. They produced a quick-strike drive in seven plays spanning only 2:46 to create another 12-point cushion. Michael Gillis punched it in for a touchdown from one yard out with 12:48 remaining the first half.

An interception thrown by Brian Buczek (Bloomingdale, NJ/DePaul), one of his three on the day, led to a Crusader field goal with just 24 seconds remaining in the first half. Frank Traupman booted a 39-yarder to put Holy Cross up by 15 heading into the locker room.

After a scoreless third quarter, Lafayette shined brilliantly on offense, putting together an 11-play, 80-yard drive, capped by Buczek's 24-yard TD toss to senior flanker Joe Luke (Phillipsburg, NJ/Phillipsburg). The touchdown gave hope to the Leopards, but it was quickly dashed as Martin Brecht's (Jeannette, PA/Greensburg Central Catholic) extra-point attempt was blocked and returned by Calvin Soulder for two points and a nearly insurmountable 11-point lead.

The Crusaders tacked on another touchdown with 7:06 remaining as James Conrow found the end zone from five yards out.

"We made some good plays offensively, but it's tough to win when you dig a hole as deep as we did," lamented Russo. "Unfortunately, our first two posessions were the difference in the game."

Buczek went 16-27 for 181 yards and one TD, but threw three interceptions on the day. He also led the Leopards with 64 yards rushing.

Junior Mike Levy (Bel Air, MD/Fallston) had another outstanding day, with six tackles and one sack. He finished with three tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Senior captain John Fistner (Bethlehem, PA/Bethlehem Catholic) led Lafayette with 11 tackles, including two for a loss.