Mt. St. Joseph claims share of MIAA title

November 06, 1994|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

Caught in his players' postgame celebration yesterday, Mount St. Joseph coach Mike Working stood in the middle of the field, soaking wet after his players doused him with a bucket of water.

Before the start of the season, few people would have predicted such a scene.

But Working concluded this season the same way he ended last year's when he was coach at McDonogh -- with a championship.

Led by senior running back JeVon Norris, who rushed for 211 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries, the sixth-ranked Gaels defeated host and No. 9 Loyola, 21-12, to claim a share of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship.

The Gaels --3-7 in 1993 -- finish 8-1, 4-1 and are league co-champions with Gilman.

"After day one of practice, I felt the intensity and the togetherness of this team, and I felt we could go all the way," Norris said. "And we had the coaching staff to do it."

Mount St. Joseph is not the first team to experience a positive turnaround under Working.

After a 2-8 finish in Working's first season at McDonogh, he led the Eagles to a 16-3 record over the next two years, including an unbeaten season last year that culminated in the Maryland Scholastic Association Armstrong A Conference title.

"I thought we'd have a good team this season, but what's really made us successful has been chemistry," Working said. "Every game a different kid stepped up. It's a great group of overachievers."

Among those who stepped it up for the Gaels yesterday was Norris, who had to shoulder much of the burden on offense after Archie Wannamaker went out late in the first quarter with a

hip-flexor strain.

Norris' 26-yard touchdown run on Mount St. Joseph's first play from scrimmage gave the Gaels a 6-0 lead with 5:47 left in the first quarter.

He scored two more touchdowns in the second half, the first of which -- a 14-yard run -- tied the score at 12. Dan Rosewag's PAT put the Gaels ahead, 13-12, with 8:46 remaining in the third quarter.

Norris (1,227 yards) and Wannamaker (997 yards) are the area's most productive backfield, but Wannamaker finished with just five yards on two carries.

The injury to Wannamaker, who also plays safety, left a void on defense as well. In addition, defensive end Cliff Dawson left the game with an injury and linebacker Larry Bell and defensive back Tory Trogden had been benched for their involvement in a fight against Calvert Hall last week.

The Dons (4-3, 2-2) were also missing some key players. Sophomore Jason Bukowsky (4-for-12, 42 yards passing, two interceptions) got his first start at quarterback after senior Brian Nicholas (602 yards passing) broke his right hand during Tuesday's practice. Offensive guard Gabe Mamock (torn knee ligament) also missed yesterday's game.

Loyola had tied the game at 6 on Damien Austin's 91-yard return of the ensuing kickoff after Norris' first touchdown.

Scott Brown (195 yards rushing on 25 carries) gave the Dons a 12-6 lead on a 63-yard touchdown run with 5:46 left in the second quarter.

Norris struck again for Mount St. Joseph's final touchdown, a 27-yard run with 11:52 remaining in the fourth quarter. Rosewag caught the two-point conversion pass from Lucas Phillips to account for the final score.

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