Ea­gles start well, fall short

Un­timely mis­takes turn mo­men­tum as McDonogh falls to top WCAC team

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Kather­ine Dunn kather­ine.dunn@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/kdunnsun

McDonogh coach Dom Dam­ico told his play­ers af­ter their 49-28 loss to DeMatha on Fri­day night that the Stags were prob­a­bly the best team the Ea­gles had ever played.

Early on, No. 1 McDonogh got the bet­ter of the No. 4 team in USA To­day’s Su­per 25, but a few key mis­takes turned the mo­men­tum, and DeMatha (4-0) ran right over the Ea­gles through the mid­dle of the game. The Stags scored on their first six drives.

In the clash of the No. 1 team in the Mary­land In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion A Con­fer­ence and the No. 1 team in the Wash­ing­ton Catholic Ath­letic Con­fer­ence, McDonogh moved the ball 75 yards on the game’s first drive and scored on Mylique McGriff’s 2-yard run.

On DeMatha’s en­su­ing drive, BJ Far­rare in­ter­cepted Stags quar­ter­back Beau English and raced 70 yards to the end zone, but there was a flag back at the line of scrim­mage. Two Ea­gles penal­ties — for rough­ing the passer and for un­sports­man­like con­duct — negated that touch­down.

“It hurts to get any touch­down called back, es­pe­cially in a game like this,” said McDonogh se­nior of­fen­sive line­man Jor­dan McNair. “This is a good team, so you want to score as much as pos­si­ble. Of course, you want to win, but you just can’t have the lit­tle mis­takes.”

DeMatha took ad­van­tage of its re­ju­ve­nated drive and English fin­ished it with a 2-yard touch­down run to tie the game.

The Ea­gles needed just sec­onds to take back the lead af­ter Dam­ico dipped into his bag of tricks and called an op­tion pass. Quar­ter­back DeJuan El­lis threw the ball to wide re­ceiver Mar­quis Thornes, who hit Jack Sim­mons in stride for a 75-yard touch­down and a 14-7 lead with 5:17 left in the first quar­ter.

Even though the three-time de­fend­ing WCAC champs an­swered on Khory Spruill’s 3-yard run to tie the game at 14 with 49.8 sec­onds left in the first quar­ter, McDonogh was still in it — un­til its next drive.

The Ea­gles man­aged to move the ball just 21 yards to their own 41-yard line, so they set up to punt on fourth-and-11. The snap sailed over the punter’s head and he fell on the ball at the McDonogh 2.

Spruill ran it in and the Stags scored three more unan­swered touch­downs, capped by Spruill’s third of the night, a 4-yard run to ex­tend the lead to 42-14 with 5:30 left in the third quar­ter.

“We’ve got to elim­i­nate all those penal­ties, all those break­downs.” Dam­ico told his play­ers af­ter the game. “If they’re elim­i­nated, we can have a re­ally good ball­club and we can win out.”

The Ea­gles strug­gled to stop DeMatha’s run most of the night, some­thing they knew could be a prob­lem. Even though the Stags lost their best run­ning back, An­thony McFarland, to a bro­ken leg in a pre­sea­son scrim­mage, Spruill eas­ily car­ried the load with help from sopho­more Myles Miree.

“Our guys up front, once they get into the rhythm block­ing, they’re pretty good,” DeMatha coach Eli­jah Brooks said. “We have backs that run downhill and those guys get some tough yardage, and they wear on peo­ple. As long as we don’t turn the ball over, we’re usu­ally in pretty good shape, so I’m re­ally happy with our run­ning game to­day.”

McDonogh ral­lied late in the game, scor­ing af­ter a cou­ple of in­ter­cep­tions when Brooks put his backup quar­ter­back in the game. Far­rare re­turned one 60 yards for a touch­down and Wayne Sharpe’s set up an­other short touch­down run for McGriff.

Then Brooks brought back English, who has com­mit­ted to Air Force, for the fi­nal drive, and he com­pleted the scor­ing on a 1-yard run with 4:32 to go.

The Ea­gles, ranked No. 3 in the state me­dia poll while the Stags are No. 1, will get their chance for re­venge when the two meet again next fall at DeMatha’s home field at the Prince Ge­orge’s Sports and Learn­ing Com­plex in Lan­dover.

BAR­BARA HAD­DOCK TAY­LOR/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

DeMatha coach Eli­jah Brooks talks with one of his coaches. The Stags are No. 1 in the Wash­ing­ton Catholic Ath­letic Con­fer­ence.

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