Ma­iava pow­ers Cadets to con­vinc­ing road win

Foes will meet again next week­end in play­offs

The Washington Post Sunday - - NFL WEEK 9 - BY SA­MAN­THA PELL sa­man­tha.pell@wash­

St. John’s quar­ter­back Sol-Jay Ma­iava walked off the foot­ball field at Gon­zaga three min­utes into the fourth quar­ter and burst into tears.

Ma­iava had just thrown a 66yard touch­down pass to wide re­ceiver Cameron Ross to help se­cure what would be a 34-17 vic­tory for the No. 1 Cadets on Satur­day in North­west Wash­ing­ton, but tears spilled down the sig­nal caller’s face.

It was the first time in the ju­nior’s play­ing ca­reer that he showed that much emo­tion. He had moved from his tightknit com­mu­nity in Laie, Hawaii, to the Wash­ing­ton sub­urbs with his fam­ily just be­fore the sea­son started to give him­self a bet­ter chance at a col­lege schol­ar­ship.

He fi­nally let those emo­tions out.

“I was just think­ing about all the sac­ri­fices that I had made and what my fam­ily had made,” Ma­iava said as he wore a flower lei his mother made for him and the Cadets coaches. “I was just thank­ful.”

De­spite some er­rors in the sec­ond half to let the No. 6 Ea­gles back in the game, the Cadets fin­ished their reg­u­lar sea­son 9-0 and 4-0 in the Wash­ing­ton Catholic Ath­letic Con­fer­ence. Gon­zaga fell to 7-3 and 1-3 in the WCAC.

“We all did what we were sup­posed to do, and some of us made mis­takes here and there, but every­body had each other’s back,” Ma­iava said. “The re­ceivers and run­ning backs had my back. The [of­fen­sive] line had my back.”

St. John’s, the de­fend­ing WCAC cham­pion, is on a 16-game win­ning streak and en­ters the play­offs as the league’s top seed. The Cadets will have a re­match Satur­day against fourth-seeded Gon­zaga — this time at St. John’s in the WCAC semi­fi­nals.

The other semi­fi­nal will be No. 5 Good Coun­sel against No. 2 DeMatha on Fri­day at the Prince Ge­orge’s Sports & Learn­ing Com­plex. The WCAC cham­pi­onship game is sched­uled for the fol­low­ing week­end.

The Cadets jumped out to an early lead Satur­day, go­ing up 27-3 be­fore half­time be­hind two touch­downs by run­ning back Ron Cook. Cook started the game in place of Alabama com­mit Keilan Robin­son, who was in­jured in a St. John’s win over Good Coun­sel on Oct. 12.

The Cadets fal­tered in the sec­ond half, with turnovers and penal­ties al­low­ing Gon­zaga to inch back into the game. A 16-yard touch­down run from Mal­colm Terry in the third quar­ter and a 20-yard touch­down pass from Caleb Wil­liams to John Mar­shall in the fourth cut the deficit to 27-17.

“We played the worst foot­ball we ever played in the sec­ond half, so it is easy to re­fo­cus for next week,” St. John’s Coach Joe Casa­mento said. “You just can’t get up like that and then think you have it and stop play­ing. We have a lot to work on.”

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