City College quarterback Terrence Suber said the buildup for yesterday's matchup between No. 2 City and No. 1 Calvert Hall was a lot like the buildup for the annual Poly-City Thanksgiving Day game.
So, when Suber overthrew receivers on three of his first four passes, he knew it was just the adrenalin flowing too fast.
The junior settled himself and led City on two scoring drives late in the first half and one to start the second half, and the second-ranked Knights defeated Calvert Hall, 20-3, yesterday at City.
City is 7-0 overall and 6-0 in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference, where the Knights are tied for first with Loyola, which beat Forest Park, 31-0, yesterday. Calvert Hall is 7-1, 5-1.
After his slow start, Suber finished 5-for-9 for 74 yards and one touchdown passing and also had 10 carries for 72 yards.
"I was real pumped," said Suber.
Who wouldn't be?
This matchup drew an overflow crowd estimated at 2,500. There was media coverage like City hadn't seen for a home game since the Knights upset Bob Wade's Dunbar team in 1986 in Wade's last game before becoming basketball coach at Maryland.
"Coach [George Petrides] kept telling us it was no different from any other game we played, just keep our heads together," said Suber.
But early on, even City's outstanding defense seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the excitement. After City managed just 13 yards on its first possession, Calvert Hall backed the Knights' defense from the Cardinals' 42 to the Knights' 17 before settling for a 35-yard field goal from Evan Leos with 3:07 left.
City managed just 19 yards on its next two possessions, but on its fourth possession of the half, the Knights got it going.
Suber sparked an eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive with a 29-yard run to the Cardinals' 34. He completed a 20-yard pass to Dwight Banks and a 14-yard touchdown pass to Charles Ransom. Hari Lymon ran for the conversion to make it 8-3 with 2:50 left in the half.
City got its next score thanks in part to the game's lone turnover. Calvert Hall quarterback Luther Alexander fumbled after a 2-yard run on a fourth-and-one from the Cardinals' 32, and the Knights recovered.
After a holding penalty against the Knights, Suber found Banks wide-open across the middle for a 20-yard completion to give the Knights a first down at the 2.
They needed just one more play, as Lymon ran it in on first down. A pass for the conversion failed and City led, 14-3.
The Knights continued to surge in the second half, taking their opening drive 68 yards on 13 plays for a touchdown. Lymon, who finished with 28 carries for 131 yards, did the bulk of the work with 11 carries for 64 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown run around left end to cap the drive. A pass for the conversion failed.
"I really think we did very well with the first quarter and the first eight minutes of the second quarter," said Calvert Hall coach Bill Mackley. "[Later] we allowed a lot of things to happen. We gave them momentum and they really took it."
The fumble gave City some of that momentum, but Mackley said he did not consider the call on fourth down a gamble.
"The quarterback sneak is the safest play in the world," he said. "They actually pulled the ball out of his hands when his knees were down, but the officials didn't see it."
It was a rough day for Alexander, whom City considered the key to the Cardinals' offense. He had 11 carries for 30 yards and completed six of 12 passes for 43 yards. He was sacked twice and lost yardage on three carries.
Calvert Hall's Will Harcum had 14 carries for 66 yards, but the Knights' swarming defense kept the speedy little back from getting outside.
"We contained him [Harcum] just like all the other tailbacks this year," said Petrides. "We wanted to contain Alexander and make sure he didn't get outside. We knew if we could put pressure on him, it would force him back. I just think our offensive and defensive lines finally wore them down."