Fisher spoils Hopkins' first home playoff game with 23-12 victory

Cardinals intercept Jays QB Tomlin 5 times

November 19, 2011|By Jeff Seidel, Special To The Baltimore Sun

Johns Hopkins went into its first home playoff game ever coming off its first perfect regular season in school history.

But St. John Fisher spoiled the party, coming down from Rochester, N.Y., and disrupting Hopkins' potent passing attack for a 23-12 victory Saturday at Homewood Field.

During the regular season, the Blue Jays (10-1) averaged 42.6 points and 500.3 yards and scored at least 27 points in every game, some of the best numbers in Division III football.

Fisher held them to 417 yards total offense and forced Hopkins into a number of mistakes. The Cardinals often dropped eight players into coverage, intercepting Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Year Hewitt Tomlin five times.

"They'll give you time to throw the ball, but they'll make you pay if you don't throw it well," Tomlin said. "It was a humbling experience. Today, our offense didn't really do it."

Tomlin — who threw for 23 touchdowns and just five interceptions in eight games during the season — completed 31 of 52 passes for 224 yards.

Daniel Wodicka (12 catches for 83 yards) and Scott Cremens (10 catches for 89 yards) played well for the Blue Jays, but the absence of Sam Wernick (71 catches on the season) hurt. Wernick was hurt last week and couldn't play.

Jonathan Rigaud led Johns Hopkins with 137 yards rushing, but the Blue Jays didn't have a play longer than 30 yards.

"Our players knew on defense we had to eliminate the big play from them," Fisher coach Paul Vosburgh said. "They can score. They're a big-play offense, and we had to slow those things down."

The Fisher offense kept the Blue Jays off the field, thanks to some very long drives. In the first quarter, Fisher held the ball for 13 minutes, 45 seconds. The Cardinals ran 25 plays from scrimmage to the Blue Jays' 3.

Over their first two drives, the Cardinals ran 28 plays, but Johns Hopkins held them to two Chad Monheim field goals for a 6-0 lead.

The Blue Jays put together a drive after the second field goal, capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Tomlin to Wodicka, but Fisher blocked Richie Carbone's extra point to keep the game tied at 6 with 9:21 left in the half.

The Cardinals took the lead for good when Ahmed Hassanien threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Francis with 3:11 left in the half.

Fisher quarterback Ryan Kramer was playing well before injuring his hip on the previous play, and Hassanien threw the touchdown on his first snap.

"[Coach] told me, 'You're throwing a touchdown on this play,'" said Hassanien, who stayed in after that.

The Blue Jays had two good drives in the third quarter; one ending on an interception and the other finishing on a Scott Barletta 1-yard touchdown. Carbone pushed the extra point wide right to keep Fisher in front, 13-12. The Cardinals scored on two of the next three drives to lock up the win.

"They made a lot of great plays today and we didn't," Johns Hopkins coach Jim Margraff said. "Our best players didn't have their best games. You play good teams at this level, and you can't make those mistakes."

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