TOWSON, Md. –
During the week of practice leading up to Saturday night’s showdown with Gilman (Baltimore)
, Our Lady of Good Counsel coach Bob Milloy said he knew a key to the game would be whether or not the Falcons could control senior quarterback Darius Jennings
Turns out he was right.
And turns out, they couldn’t.
Jennings, the area’s top Division I prospect who will play wide receiver or defensive back in college, engineered the Greyhounds to a convincing 28-7 win over the nationally-ranked Falcons Saturday night in the final and feature game of the inaugural I-95 Kick Off Classic at Johnny Unitas Stadium on the Towson State University campus.
The four games pitted teams from rival leagues, the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC).Good Counsel (Olney)
came in ranked No. 12 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 writers' poll, and No. 16 in the MaxPreps Freeman computer rankings presented by the Army National Guard.
Jennings, lining up in the shotgun all night, ran the ball 23 times for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Good Counsel (WCAC, 1-1), playing without injured starting running back Wes Brown
, was never able to establish any momentum on offense. Quarterback Zach Dancel connected with tight end Vincent Croce for a 9-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at seven with six minutes to play in the second quarter. But that’s as close as they would get.
Gilman (MIAA, 2-0) scored 14 points over its next five plays to take control for good.
Sophomore running back Miles Norris sprinted untouched up the middle for a 24-yard touchdown to put the Greyhounds up 14-7. Then, following a muffed squib kick recovered by Gilman, Jennings connected with Cyrus Jones for a 28-yard score.
Perhaps the play that broke the backs of Counsel happened with 35.6 seconds remaining in the half. On its own 28-yard line, Counsel seemed as if it would just let the clock run out and head into the locker room down 14. But instead, Dancel dropped back and threw the ball right into the hands of Gilman junior linebacker Devon Porchia who sprinted 28 yards into the end zone to put his team up 28-7.
Counsel’s sophomore running back Dorian ODaniel carried the ball 14 times for 90 yards. Dancel was 8-for-15 for 114 yards.DeMatha-Hyattsville (WCAC) 45, Loyola-Towson (MIAA) 31:
It was as if the game should have been played on the rubber track surrounding the field rather than on the artificial turf in the middle of it. It was Loyola through the air. DeMatha on the ground.
It was a back-and-forth-game, with each team scoring on every trip into the red zone. But in the end it was ground over air as DeMatha scored five touchdowns by way of the run to defeat Loyola.
DeMatha senior running back Delonte Morton
broke several tackles and barreled 36 yards into the end zone for his second touchdown to put the Staggs up to stay, 31-24, with 7:35 remaining in the fourth quarter. Morton finished with 153 yards on 15 carries and two scores running behind an enormous offensive line anchored by the country’s top prospect at his position, senior tackle Cyrus Kouandjio
“No doubt their size affected us,” Loyola coach Brian Abbott said of his team. “We left some plays out on the field but we only have eight seniors, so we’re playing a lot of juniors and sophomores, and playing them both ways. I thought our boys represented our school well.”
It was a tale of two halves for Loyola senior quarterback Mike Fafaul, who completed 10 of 15 passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns in the first half but was just 6-for-21 for 82 yards and two interceptions in the second.
“They switched defenses up and I missed some reads in the second half that I made in the first,” said Fafaul, who opened the game by leading the Dons on an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive.
Five different players scored touchdowns for DeMatha, including senior defensive back Jordan Lomax on a 70-yard interception returned for a score.
“I tried to split the safeties but the receiver got bumped and so it looked like I was throwing to nobody,” Fafaul said of his errant throw.
Senior Michael Branthover, who was nailing 55-yard field goals during warm-ups and was 5-for-5 on extra point attempts, added a 35-yard field goal just before the half for the Staggs. Calvert Hall-Baltimore (MIAA) 26, Archbishop Spalding-Severn (MIAA) 20, 3 OT:
Calvert Hall junior quarterback Thomas Stuart plunged into the end zone from 2 yards out on the second possession of the third overtime to give the Cardinals the win.
Trailing 14-6 with just under four minutes to play, Stuart completed a short screen pass to sophomore running back Garrett Keene for a 38-yard touchdown run. The 5-foot-11, 165-pounder then hit Kyle Levere on a slant for the two-point conversion to knot the score at 14 and send the game into overtime.
After failing to score in the first overtime, both teams scored on running plays during the second overtime but failed on the extra point conversions. Mount St. Joseph-Baltimore (MIAA) 29, Bishop McNamara-Forestville (WCAC) 6
: Mount St. Joseph took advantage of five fumbled snaps, including two on punts that led to nine points, to cruise to a victory.
Junior quarterback Craig Costabile completed 12 of 28 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown for St. Joseph.
McNamara’s lone score came on the opening kickoff when senior Hannibal Robinson picked up his own fumble and ran 89 yards for a touchdown.Jon Buzby is the Mid-Atlantic correspondent for MaxPreps.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.