Cager's long touchdown gives Calvert Hall win over Archbishop Spalding

September 26, 2014|By Rich Scherr | For The Baltimore Sun

At a sleek 6-foot-5, Calvert Hall wide receiver Lawrence Cager has a major height advantage over just about every defensive back he sees.

On Friday, the senior showed he has the hands to match.

Cager caught a pair of long touchdown passes from quarterback Kenji Bahar, including a 31-yard reception on fourth and long with 5:21 left to put the No. 5 Cardinals ahead for good in a 17-10 win over host No. 14 Archbishop Spalding.

After blowing an early 10-0 lead, and managing just three offensive plays in the third quarter, Calvert Hall (4-1, 1-0 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference) wrestled back the momentum with a 13-play, 75-yard drive.

On fourth-and-21 Cager, who earlier also scored on a similar 25-yard pass over-the-top from Bahar, found himself wide open when defensive back Brennon Dingle fell down in the end zone.

"They just said do what I do best, go up and high-point the ball," Cager said. "Luckily, I outran him so bad he fell down. It was an easy catch for me."

"In order to get a first down, we had to go up top," Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis said. "It's a blessing to have the kids we have. That's a chance you just have to take."

Spalding (2-3, 0-1) had one last chance to tie, but on fourth down at the Cardinals' 27, quarterback Christopher Powell — who came in late to replace injured starter Evan Fochtman — was hit as he threw, and the ball landed incomplete.

The Cavaliers have lost three straight games since their 2-0 start.

"We were kind of just killing ourselves in the first half. Getting in a 10-0 hole is tough. We're not the type of team that can get down 10-0," Spalding coach Kyle Schmitt said. "We're in trouble at that point. Right now, our immaturity is showing in those situations."

Calvert Hall started strong, but failed to capitalize on early opportunities.

After driving deep into Spalding territory on a 60-yard screen over the middle to Morgan Scroggins, the Cardinals got as close as the 1-yard line before failing to score on a fourth-and-goal at the 3, with free safety Tyre Beale stopping Cager a yard shy.

The Cardinals then forced a punt, and started their next drive in Cavaliers territory. After driving to the 12, however, they settled for a 27-yard field goal by Peter Ferrara.

Spalding, however, failed to take advantage, time and again losing field position on penalties. After averaging more than 27 points in their first four games, the Cavaliers failed to score a point in the first half, generating 79 yards of total offense.

And in the final seconds of the half, Calvert Hall finally took advantage.

Running their two-minute offense, predicated primarily on screen passes, the Cardinals opened their lead when Bahar dropped back, pumped once and floated a pass down the right sideline to Cager, who had beaten his man by a step. Cager walked into the endzone with 26 seconds left, extending the lead to 10-0.

After halftime, however, Spalding's offense seemed rejuvenated.

The Cavaliers opened the third quarter with a 15-play, 80-yard drive — all on the ground, capped by Rylan Sweetney's 8-yard scoring run around the right side.

Minutes later, they tied the game at 10 on Zachary Vance's 35-yard field goal.

All told, Spalding's offense controlled the ball for more than 10 minutes in the third quarter.

"Every win in high school football is good. Any win in the MIAA is real good, because they are extraordinarily difficult to come by," Davis said. "I'm proud of the staff, proud of the kids for the way they battled."

No. 5 Calvert Hall 3 7 0 7 -- 17

No. 14 Archbishop Spalding 0 0 7 3 -- 10

CH-Ferrara 27 FG

CH-Cager 25 pass from Bahar (Ferrara kick)

S-Sweetney 8 run (Butts kick)

S-Vance 34 FG

CH-Cager 31 pass from Bahar (Ferrara kick)

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