St. Paul's used opportunistic defense to frustrate host Severn most of the way, then burned the Admirals on Ben Strutt's 20-yard touchdown run with one minute left in a 13-7 win yesterday.
With the victory, St. Paul's moved into a tie with Severn and St. Mary's for the Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference lead. The three (who shared the crown last year) are 5-1 with one game to go, but St. Paul's has the inside track for at least part of the title.
The Crusaders play host to Boys' Latin, and Severn (6-3) visits archrival St. Mary's. St. Paul's can win the title outright if it beats Boys' Latin while Severn and St. Mary's tie.
Yesterday, St. Paul's capitalized on a botched Severn punt to score in the first four minutes. It then held Severn at bay by forcing five turnovers from quarterback Brad Fowler.
Severn tied the score at 7 on the first play of the fourth quarter, when flanker David LaChapelle passed 28 yards on a flea-flicker to Chris Pitkin, but the Admirals were bottled up from there. St. Paul's won on a five-play, 46-yard drive, capped by Chas Offutt's option pitch to Strutt down the right sideline, in the last 2 minutes, 30 seconds.
Offutt, who passed for 98 yards in the second half, was a major factor in the drive. Crusaders coach Mitch Tullai gave game honors to a take-away defense that intercepted Fowler four times in addition to recovering his late fumble.