Persistent St. Paul's knocks off McDonogh Kernan's late TD gives Crusaders 14-7 victory

September 28, 1996|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

St. Paul's senior tailback Mike Kernan knows about patience and persistence.

For two years, Kernan was a reserve running back and special teams player. But he knew if he worked hard, his time would come.

It was only fitting, therefore, that Kernan scored the game-winning touchdown on a 2-yard run with 17 seconds left to defeat host McDonogh, 14-7, in a key Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference game yesterday.

Like Kernan, St. Paul's offense was patient and persistent. Tied 7-7 at halftime, the Crusaders spent nearly the entire second half in McDonogh's territory, but they had nothing to show for it until Kernan broke through.

Before that, St. Paul's (3-0, 1-0) had two drives stall inside McDonogh's 30-yard line and one inside the 40.

"We just kept running our game plan," Kernan said. "We knew we could score, and we were just doing what we knew we were capable of."

The game plan, St. Paul's coach Brian Abbott said, was to "run right at them and utilize our line.

"We knew eventually we'd get it in," he said. "I was hoping it would be with a little bit more time on the clock and it would be more than just one."

Kernan, who also plays defensive back and on special teams, finished with 104 yards on 28 carries and one reception for 12 yards. He also had nine solo tackles and two assists.

"This is only his third year playing football," Abbott said. "He's an outstanding running back, and he's going to have a super year."

It appears that the Crusaders' defense may have a super year, as well. St. Paul's graduated its entire starting defense from last season, but a mix of newcomers and returnees has allowed just 19 points in three games.

Led by Rick Cober (14 solo tackles, two assists), Kimball Payne (11 solos, two assists, co-sack) and Bob Werhane (nine solos, three assists, co-sack), St. Paul's defense limited the Eagles in the second half to 19 yards total offense and one first down.

Cober (5 feet 11, 185 pounds) and Werhane (6-0, 205) are transfers from McDonogh, and the Eagles (3-1, 1-1) could have used them yesterday.

"We only have one player on our team [who] weighs over 200 pounds," McDonogh coach Dominic Damico said. "It was obvious today that we cannot stop the run. We have 160- and 170-pound sophomores playing defensive line."

McDonogh had taken a 7-0 lead on Bryan Leone's 26-yard run with 1: 36 remaining in the first quarter.

The Crusaders tied it at 7 on a 2-yard touchdown run by J. R. Haas with 5: 39 left in the second quarter.

Pub Date: 9/28/96

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