Hopkins ends drought vs. Dickinson 16-14 win keeps Blue Jays in conference title chase

November 03, 1996|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Two streaks came to an end for Johns Hopkins yesterday, but only one that truly mattered..

After nine straight unsuccessful tries, the Blue Jays finally defeated Dickinson and kept alive their hopes for a share of the Centennial Conference championship.

A blocked punt and fumble recovery by safety Jim Maro led to two early touchdowns, and Hopkins survived an injury to freshman quarterback Wayne Roccia in a 16-14 victory at Homewood.

Before yesterday, the Blue Jays (6-2, 4-1) hadn't beaten Dickinson since 1986, a stretch that included eight losses and one tie. This game took on greater meaning because Hopkins is within reach of first-place Ursinus, which is 6-0 in the conference.

The Blue Jays must win their last two games, next Saturday at Franklin and Marshall and the following weekend against Western Maryland. Then they need for Ursinus to lose at Dickinson on Nov. 16 to claim a share of the title.

Dickinson's Red Devils (4-4, 2-3) were eliminated yesterday, though they did deny the Blue Jays a third consecutive shutout.

They also threw a scare into Hopkins. Dickinson got within two points early in the third quarter after the Blue Jays fumbled the second-half kickoff and constantly threatened after that, only to come up short. The Red Devils were wide left on a 29-yard field goal with 8: 27 left in the game.

"After that, we figured we were in pretty good shape," said Hopkins coach Jim Margraff, whose team has won three in a row since a 28-0 loss at Ursinus, and six of its last seven. "No one's going a long way on our defense to win."

Hopkins will have to make its run at Ursinus without Roccia, who broke his left leg in the second quarter while being tackled on a seven-yard gain and may need surgery. Another freshman, Jamie Monica, replaced Roccia with the Blue Jays ahead, 16-7.

Margraff will decide later this week if Monica (0-for-4, one interception), the best runner among Hopkins quarterbacks, will get the call next Saturday. If Franklin and Marshall starts off the same as Dickinson, it may not matter.

On the Red Devils' opening series, Maro blocked a punt by junior Dan McGee, who had hesitated because of a low snap from center, and senior Mark Lord (Gilman) returned it 15 yards for a touchdown.

Dickinson's next possession ended in two plays when McGee, also the Red Devils quarterback, was hit while pitching the ball and Maro scooped up the fumble on the 17. Roccia later scored on a 1-yard sneak, and a blocked conversion kick left the Blue Jays in front, 13-0, just three minutes into the game.

Then things got a little dicey for Hopkins. Dickinson junior linebacker Seth Costello intercepted a Roccia pass on the Blue Jays' 38, leading to Hinkel's 1-yard touchdown run. And four minutes after a 35-yard field goal by junior Todd Bencivenni upped the Blue Jays' lead to 16-7, Roccia was lost for the season.

Hopkins didn't lose faith, though. "If someone carrying the flag falls, you've got to pick it up and keep going," Lord said.

"The defense has always been strong," said Maro, who also recovered a fumble by McGee on the Hopkins 40 with five minutes left. "Whenever it's needed, we always pull through. And we knew if they didn't score, they weren't going to win."

The Blue Jays had three turnovers and some lousy field position in the second half, but they also had a victory after senior linebacker Stu Clutterbuck's interception on Dickinson's 24 with seconds left.

Hopkins junior Don Zajick rushed for 122 yards, the third straight game he has gone over 100.

Dickinson .....7 0 7 0 -- 14

Johns Hopkins 13 3 0 0 -- 16

Pub Date: 11/03/96

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