St. Paul's streaks to MIAA B title, 24-0 Win over Boys' Latin is 19th straight victory, secures 2nd straight title

November 12, 1996|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

St. Paul's running back Mike Kernan thanked "Mother Nature" for Friday's torrential downpours, which forced the postponement of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference title game until yesterday at Boys' Latin.

"I hurt my ankle last week. The three days of rehab really helped," said Kernan, a senior. "This was the one game I didn't want to miss."

Kernan (62 yards, 20 carries) led all rushers in a 24-0 rout of the Lakers, but several teammates also got into the act. Quarterback Conor Gill (7-for-13, 169 yards) ran for one touchdown and threw a 56-yard scoring pass to J.R. Sanchez (three receptions, 83 yards).

J.R. Haas rushed for 36 yards and another score in the 19th straight win for No. 8 St. Paul's (9-0, 7-0), which ended the Lakers' (7-3, 6-1) six-game winning streak. The last loss for St. Paul's (10-0 for last year's title) was 21-0 at Boys' Latin in 1994.

The Lakers, runners-up for the second straight year, lost, 14-0, at St. Paul's last year, but returned 13 starters and were ranked No. 14 in the preseason. St. Paul's returned just two starters, Gill and lineman Kimball Payne (6 feet 2, 295 pounds), and was unranked until reaching 4-0.

"We got no respect. That was our motivation," said Gill, who has thrown 15 touchdowns on 1,163 yards. "We wanted to do something about that."

The Lakers had just 127 total yards of offense, mostly from Aaron Vercollone (5-for-16, 99 yards). Bob Werhane and Matt Latchford, each with a sack, and Chad Unitas and Dave Schmidt, each with an interception, aided a St. Paul's defense that has allowed six points on average.

"They [Lakers] have a multi-faceted offense. Different formations. But we concentrated on a few plays," said linebacker Rick Cober (5-11, 190). "We stuck together today and played great."

After a scoreless first period, two Lakers mistakes led directly to a 10-0 halftime deficit.

Jon Berrier recovered a fumbled snap at the Lakers' 9, and after a nice defensive stand by the Lakers -- including a batted-down pass by Garry Colbert in the end zone -- St. Paul's settled for Doug Coutts' 24-yard field goal with 7: 28 left in the half.

St. Paul's faced fourth-and-12 on its own 31 when Greg Patchak was penalized for roughing the punter, Gill. And on the next play, Gill found a wide-open Sanchez in stride at the Lakers' 35. Sanchez went the rest of the way untouched, and Coutts' first of three extra point kicks made it 10-0 with 2: 50 left.

Sanchez opened the third period with a 37-yard kickoff return to the Lakers' 45. Nine plays later, Haas' 1-yard run made it 17-0 with 7: 15 left in the third period.

In the fourth, Boys' Latin's Ryan Mollett, all alone in the end zone, was denied as a leaping Unitas intercepted Vercollone, landing in the end zone. Unitas' subsequent 42-yard reception aided a nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive, capped by Gill's 1-yard keeper.

"After those early mistakes, things sort of fell apart. Their line was well-coached [by Brian Abbott] and did us in," said Mollett, one of several seniors who, as members of an eighth-grade team, went unbeaten and unscored upon. "Boys' Latin's not known for it's football, but Coach [Drew] Haugh kind of put it on the map. Hopefully, it can stay there."

Pub Date: 11/12/96

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