Johns Hopkins keeps bouncing back to win Down at half, Blue Jays overcome W&L, 34-28

September 14, 1997|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Without a formal scrimmage to prepare his team for yesterday's season opener at Homewood Field, Johns Hopkins coach Jim Margraff decided to remind his players what would happen when they took the field.

"I told the guys that in every game there's going to be a huge setback, somewhere," said Margraff, shortly after his team's 34-28 victory over Washington & Lee. "I said, 'The team that responds best in that situation is going to win.' "

Johns Hopkins' first setback came on its opening drive. A blocked punt helped set up a first-and-goal for Washington & Lee. The Blue Jays' goal-line stand forced the Generals to settle for three points.

"That was a big four points, a huge four points. And that told us a lot about ourselves right there," said Margraff, who was inducted in the Hopkins Hall of Fame at halftime.

Hopkins halfbacks Adam Gentile and Don Zajick each ran for 144 yards and a touchdown.

Running back James Cacossa carried the ball three times for 5 yards, but two of those were for touchdowns. Cacossa opened the scoring for Hopkins on a 1-yard run that capped an eight-play, 63-yard scoring drive.

Gentile's fumble near midfield and Wayne Roccia's interception that passed through tight end Cory Schaffer's hands both were converted into six points by the Generals, who led 17-7 with 3: 19 left in first half.

The Blue Jays pulled within a field goal when Cacossa bounced off a pile at the goal line and took off outside untouched.

Hopkins' quick score came too quickly. The Generals got a 38-yard field goal that passed through the uprights as the horn sounded.

Early in the third quarter, Gentile raced down the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown. Todd Bencivenni got the extra point for a 21-20 edge.

Hopkins' defense got stung by the big play on its ensuing series, a 67-yard scoring strike from Christian Batcheller to David Ritchey.

But Hopkins came back. Roccia, who completed 12 of 20 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown, connected with sophomore wide receiver Sam Skinner for two 15-yard gains and hit Mark Guzzo for an 18-yard pickup before Zajick scored on an 8-yard run.

The Blue Jays suffered another setback when their extra-point attempt, which would have tied the game at 28, was blocked.

Hopkins' response? Get the ball back and score. Roccia capped the game-winning drive with a 2-yard pass to Guzzo, who looked as if he were waiting for a bus in the back of the end zone.

"Our offensive line pounded the line of scrimmage," said Zajick, who became the school's all-time carries leader on his 503rd attempt. "It was a lot of fun running today. There was always something there."

Pub Date: 9/14/97

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