Truman was well aware of how potent Franklin D. Roosevelt’s offense was, so it never gave it a chance to get going by excelling in every facet of the game to knock off the defending champion.
“These guys continuously answered the call,” Truman coach John Shepherd said.
The second-seeded Mustangs scored on several big plays by juniors Imotep Cromer and Ramon Jefferson and rode the momentum to 42-12 win over No. 6 FDR in the PSAL Bowl Conference championship game on Dec. 5 at MCU Park. It is Truman’s first crown since 2011.
“We always knew we had it talent wise, we just had to come together as a unit,” Jefferson said.
Cromer had a passing touchdown, returned a kickoff for a key 72-yard score just before halftime, and ran for a 53-yard touchdown to break the game open in the second half.
Truman (12-1) jumped out 8-0 near the end of the first quarter on a pass from Cromer to Jefferson, who eluded tacklers and broke away for a 56-yard touchdown. The Mustangs doubled their lead on a 20-yard touchdown run by fullback Trevor Carson. Carson ran in the two-point conversion after both scores to make it 16-0.
FDR (10-4) cut Truman’s lead in half with a touchdown reception by ReJohn Williams with 43 seconds left in the first half, but Mustangs the score right back with Cromer’s kickoff return for a touchdown to make it a 22-8 game.
“I feel like [the kickoff return] was a big team booster.” Cromer said. “We were able to rally over that, score more points.”
After closing the first half with a long touchdown, Cromer opened the second with another. His 53-yard run to pushed the lead 28-8. George Obaseki added a score to give the Mustangs a string of 20 straight points. FDR mustered just an 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by ReJohn Williams midway through the third quarter that made it 36-14. Shephard was impressed with how his team put the game away.
“We made it crystal clear, do not think for one second that we’re in good shape, we’re not,” Shepherd said. “This [FDR] team has rattled off 22 points in a quarter, and I think the guys answered the bell big time in the second half.”
The final two drives for the Cougars were halted with interceptions by senior Damone Bailey.
“All week we had been watching film. We studied their tendencies, what they do during the game, so that’s about it,” Bailey said. “We rallied around, made the tackles.”
After Bailey’s second interception late in the fourth quarter, Truman iced the game with a touchdown run by Ramier Williams. The overall solid effort by the Mustangs prevented a potential repeat of FDR’s huge comeback against MSIT the previous week in the semifinals. A good start and an efficient ending was what the Mustangs needed.
“Extremely special,” Shepherd said.