St. Mary’s takes B crown; AACS earns C ti­tle

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - SPORTS - By Adam Zielonka

Don­ald Day III and his team­mates com­pleted a jour­ney Satur­day night that they “spoke into ex­is­tence” years ago.

The goal: A Mary­land In­ter­scholas­tic Athletic As­so­ci­a­tion B Con­fer­ence football ti­tle. Goal achieved.

The St. Mary’s Saints took down their ri­vals, the Sev­ern Ad­mi­rals, for the sec­ond straight week and won the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship, 28-14, at Whit­tles Field at Arch­bishop Spald­ing High School.

“As a se­nior group, as fresh­men, we spoke this into ex­is­tence, and now three years later, we’re here and it re­ally just feels great,” said Day, who led the Saints with over 100 rush­ing yards and a pair of touch­downs. “I wouldn’t want to do this with any other team.”

St. Mary’s (7-4) beat Sev­ern (8-3) 35-7 in last week’s reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale. By win­ning that game and get­ting some help, the Saints won a tiebreaker that en­tered them into the con­fer­ence ti­tle game, a re­match with their long­time ri­vals that seemed set up by des­tiny. It all led to the Saints’ first football ti­tle since 2008.

Sev­ern’s open­ing drive ended early with a sack by Saints star pass-rusher Ger­ard Berzins, but on the Saints’ first play on of­fense, Ad­mi­ral de­fen­sive back Trevor Marvin jumped in front of Kyle Hill’s pass and picked it off at mid­field. But Sev­ern went three and out, and the teams traded punts for the rest of the quar­ter.

Day suf­fered an in­jury on the first play of the sec­ond quar­ter but would later re­turn. Head coach Ja­son Bu­droni said after the game that Day en­tered con­cus­sion pro­to­col and checked out fine.

But on the play after Day ex­ited, Hill com­pleted his first pass of the night, find­ing Ryan Poole open in the left corner of the end zone for a 21-yard score.

St. Mary’s stuffed the Ad­mi­rals’ en­su­ing drive thanks to sacks by Cam Brown and Berzins, and sec­ond-string run­ning back Mar­cus Mar­shall car­ried the Saints when they got the ball back. Mar­shall’s run­ning set up a field goal at­tempt, but Do­minic Dono­hue missed the 37-yarder to the left.

Day re­turned on the Saints’ next pos­ses­sion and ran the ball for 11 and nine yards on his first two plays back. Mar­shall later broke a 20-yarder in his change-of­pace role, then Day brought the team to the 1-yard line and punched it in for the touch­down.

The Ad­mi­rals got very lit­tle go­ing of­fen­sively and punted on all six of their first-half drives.

AACS 21, ST. JOHN’S CP 16: An­napo­lis Area Chris­tian School couldn’t get out of its own way dur­ing the first half of Satur­day’s Mary­land In­ter­col­le­giate Athletic As­so­ci­a­tion C Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game against St. John’s Catholic Prep. On the few op­por­tu­ni­ties the Ea­gles had, they couldn’t solve the Vik­ings de­fense while penal­ties killed big plays.

But in the sec­ond half, the Ea­gles found their stride on of­fense, scor­ing 14 straight points and hold­ing on for a 21-16 vic­tory to win their sec­ond C Con­fer­ence ti­tle in three years.

“They played well,” Ea­gles coach Mike Lynn said. “The guys have been work­ing hard. You play a team three times in five weeks, that’s a lit­tle rough. They’re a big, phys­i­cal team. Our guys didn’t shy away from the chal­lenge today and we’re very proud of our team. (They’re) the most un­selfish team I’ve ever been around in 25 years of coach­ing.”

The AACS de­fense kept the Vik­ings at bay for most of the first half. After a 40-yard in­ter­cep­tion was re­turned for a touch­down by de­fen­sive back and wide re­ceiver Thad­deus Stand­field, the of­fense fre­quently stalled for the Ea­gles (8-2).

“It’s the best de­fense ever,” Lynn said. “(De­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor) Tom Thomp­son and the de­fen­sive staff do a tremen­dous job ev­ery week to put us in po­si­tion to win. We live and die by our de­fense.”

Stand­field was a force to be reck­oned with in all three phases of the game. On top of the in­ter­cep­tion, he had two kick­off re­turns 30 yards or more and would have had a touch­down re­cep­tion in the first half if not for a hold­ing penalty.

“If we had a fourth phase, he would play it,” Lynn said of his ver­sa­tile star. “He’s a spe­cial football player. He’s a spe­cial guy and we’re blessed to have him (con­sid­er­ing) this is just his sec­ond year of play­ing.”


St. Mary's Saints cel­e­brates after beat­ing archri­val Sev­ern in the MIAA B Con­fer­ence fi­nal.

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