Dons run away with `Bowl'

Loyola 31, Calvert Hall 13

High Schools

November 25, 2005|By RICH SCHERR | RICH SCHERR,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Yesterday's 86th annual Turkey Bowl was supposed to be a showcase for two of the metro area's most prolific passers.

Instead, it was No. 4 Loyola's ability to pound the ball on the ground that set the Dons apart in a 31-13 win over No. 8 Calvert Hall before 12,752 at M&T Bank Stadium. Running back Casey Creaney rushed for 114 yards on 22 carries and quarterback Joe Lennon added another 68 on 10 carries, combining for three first-half touchdowns that put Loyola in command.

Though Lennon entered the game with more than 1,300 yards passing, the Dons (8-3 overall, 3-3 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference) gained 248 of their 311 total yards via the run to outshine Cardinals quarterback Andrew Robinson, who passed for 197 yards and ran for another 92.

"They were kind of expecting us to pass, so we talked about just running right at them," Lennon said. "That's what we were able to do ... and it gave us a lot of confidence."

Said Loyola coach Brian Abbott, "I'm just so proud of our seniors to come up and just fight and run the ball the way we've never run it all year."

The win was Loyola's third straight in the series and 17th in the past 21 years. The Dons extended their lead in the all-time series to 45-33-8.

Loyola took advantage of a special teams mistake by Calvert Hall (5-5, 3-3) to take the early lead.

After their opening drive was halted shy of midfield, the Dons got the ball back when Drew Osmeyer's punt hit the back of a Cardinals blocker, and Loyola recovered at the 27.

"That was huge," Lennon said. "That just gave us a real short field."

Seven plays later, Lennon lined up in the shotgun, ran straight ahead and scored to give the Dons a 7-0 lead with 6:15 left in the first quarter.

Loyola kept the momentum by holding the Cardinals to a three-and-out, then regained possession in Calvert Hall territory. On fourth-and-two at the 37, Lennon then started right, cut back behind a block and ran untouched down the left side for a touchdown that extended the lead to 14-0 with 2:44 left in the quarter.

"They were able to run the football on us, and that was the difference," said Calvert Hall coach Jay Robinson, whose team trailed by two touchdowns and had run just six plays from scrimmage." ... They didn't throw the ball very effectively on us, but they didn't have to rely on that."

Calvert Hall continued to sputter. The Cardinals had their deepest penetration early in the second quarter, driving 12 plays to the Loyola 23.

On a fourth-and-two, however, Calvert Hall's Charles Saylor was tripped up in the backfield, and the Cardinals relinquished the ball on downs.

Calvert Hall finally broke through on its next drive, when Robinson found Jeromie Miller alone at the goal line for a 31-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 14-7. Robinson, who has orally committed to Syracuse, completed 18 of 33 passes, despite often facing six defensive backs.

With time winding down in the half, however, Loyola answered when Lennon moved his team into Cardinals territory with a 20-yard pass to Devin Gordon, then later ran it in from the 5.

The lead ballooned to 31-7 in the second half after Loyola recovered a pair of fumbles by Robinson and turned them into scores.

"The big thing was we possessed the ball and [avoided] turnovers," said Abbott, whose team entered the game with a minus-7 turnover ratio on the season. "We didn't turn the ball over today, and we've been doing that a lot lately."

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