St. Paul's deals St. Mary's 1st loss

Crusaders drive 60 yards on first possession to set tempo in MIAA B contest

St. Paul's 13 St. Mary's 0


October 07, 2006|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Reporter

Sometimes the opening drive in a football game sets the tempo and sometimes it provides a strong hint as to who will win the game.

Both held true yesterday, as host St. Paul's defeated previously unbeaten St. Mary's. It was a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference cross-division game played in the rain on the Crusaders' Mitch Tullai Field.

After the kickoff, the host Crusaders (4-1-1) started on their 40-yard line and marched 60 yards in seven plays to take a 7-0 lead. Chris Clements ran in from the 1 and Pat Kline, who later kicked a pair of 23-yard field goals, converted the extra point.

St. Paul's defenders Scott Matthews and Justin Donati picked off Darren Pastrana passes, and Michael Moss and Peter Smyth blocked punts. Moss' blocked punt set up one of the two field goals.

Zach Stonesifer, who had a game-high 85 yards rushing on 22 carries, had 34 of his yards on the initial possession.

It was obvious that the Crusaders were ready to play against a Saints defense that had given up just four points per game in opening the season 5-0.

"Oh, man, they were ready to go, definitely did it," said Mike Clay, St. Mary's second-year coach who is attempting to lead the Saints of the South Division to their first winning season since 2002.

"Dave [Dolch, St. Paul's head coach] prepared his boys well. I told our kids that they would have to play textbook football to beat St. Paul's because they're a very disciplined football team."

Said Dolch, whose team was coming off a North Division loss to Cardinal Gibbons: "We came out and drove that football right down the field and ran it right down their throat. That gave us big momentum, and we were able to keep the momentum the whole game because of our defense and special teams. The two blocked punts were devastating plays. Our offense [145 rushing yards] didn't make mistakes and allowed our defense to win the game."

St. Paul's held Pastrana (2-for-13) to 34 yards passing and held the Saints' running game to 91 yards. Leading St. Mary's rushers Dontra Peters (groin) and Nick Lewnes (ankle) played injured, Clay said.

"We knew they had some big wins and that we had to come out real intense," said Crusaders cornerback Scott Matthews, who with linebacker Jake Fradkin wreaked havoc on the Saints all afternoon.

"We got it done."

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