Spalding's plans left in ruins by McDonogh No. 4 Eagles shatter hopes for share of first, 29-6

November 01, 1997|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Archbishop Spalding had a lot at stake in last night's matchup with visiting, No. 14-ranked McDonogh.

Not only did the Cavaliers have a chance at setting a school record for victories, a win over the visiting Eagles would have lifted Spalding into a three-way tie for first in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference with McDonogh and John Carroll.

It didn't happen.

McDonogh, a team with its own agenda, made sure of that as it captured the conference title outright with a 29-6 victory over the upstart Cavaliers.

"We just wanted to come in here and finish it so we didn't have to worry about about who wins next week," said Eagles junior running back Tony Esposito, who had 72 yards and a touchdown on just eight attempts.

"Coach told us all, 'Where you guys go is in your hands,' and we stepped up and got the job done."

The Eagles, who have won eight straight since dropping their opener, went to work immediately and had 14 first-quarter points.

A high snap on a Spalding punt attempt enabled McDonogh to take over at the Cavaliers' 22 on its opening possession. Three plays later, Esposito put the Eagles on the board with a three-yard run.

McDonogh's second scoring drive was even quicker. Quarterback Matt Primm hit Neil Littman for a 59-yard touchdown pass on the opening play of the drive an Sean Lenz's second point-after kick gave the visitors a 14-0 lead with 6: 38 still left in the first quarter.

Spalding, which nailed down its first winning season in 14 years last week, worked its way down to the Eagles' 3-yard line following an interception by Brian Smith, but the drive stalled after the Cavaliers were assessed an untimely 15-yard clipping penalty on a two-yard dive play.

The Cavaliers (6-3, 4-2), who can still set a school mark for victories with a win next week against John Carroll, got the ball near midfield with just under three minutes remaining in the half, but that drive ended when Spalding quarterback Ted Calabrese, under pressure, put up a weak pass that defensive lineman Jason Schwartzenberg caught.

The Eagles (8-1, 7-0) opened the third quarter with a six-play, 53-yard scoring drive that was capped by a six-yard strike from Primm to wide receiver Owen Daly. Primm, the holder on point-after tries, improvised following a bad snap as he scrambled and then found Esposito in the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 22-0 lead.

Primm connected with Daly again late in the third quarter, that one from 22 yards. For the game, Primm completed 8-of-9 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns.

ZTC Smith put Spalding on the scoreboard with a 12-yard run late in the fourth quarter, but the touchdown was purely cosmetic.

"McDonogh is a good team and we were a little off tonight and that was the end of that," said Spalding coach John Moscato.

Pub Date: 11/01/97

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