After suffering some close losses over the last couple of years to Calvert Hall, McDonogh quickly made sure the margin between the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference football rivals would be too much for the Cardinals to overcome Saturday afternoon in Owings Mills.
In fact, it took the unbeaten Eagles (7-0, 2-0 conference) a mere three plays from scrimmage to establish a 14-0 advantage in a thorough 48-13 triumph.
It took just 10 more plays to double the lead that eventually mushroomed to 48-7 at halftime, putting the mercy rule into effect and sending Calvert Hall (2-5, 0-2) to its second straight conference defeat.
Senior running back Alex Hurdle (12 carries for 134 yards, 3 touchdowns) took charge on the first play of the game, rumbling up the middle for 21 yards. He finished the drive on a carbon copy of the first run — 20 yards up the gut and into the end zone for a 7-0 lead just 42 seconds after the opening kickoff.
The next Eagle possession took just one play when sophomore quarterback Jansen Durham's back-shoulder toss to senior wideout Joshua Woods covered 67 yards for another score at the 6:43 mark of the first period
After Hurdle's 1-yard plunge with 1:46 left in the opening quarter, the senior Notre Dame lacrosse recruit raced 49 yards for a 28-0 lead moments later.
"They beat us the last three or four years, so we were looking for retribution," he said. "Running behind our linemen made my job easy. We wanted to make a lot of big plays early and then coast a little in the second half."
After Durham improvised a 6-yard keeper for a 35-0 lead, Calvert Hall responded with a 9-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Kenji Bahar to senior running back Russell Neverdon.
McDonogh, though, responded on a 32-yard run by junior running back Justin Hawkins and a 9-yard pass from Durham to junior wideout Michael Cornwell.
"I'm happy with the way we played," McDonogh coach Dom Damico said. "We're strong at the point of attack. When you can run the ball like we can, it makes things a lot easier."
Although it was likely that Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis and the Cardinals would be in the middle of a rebuilding year regardless of personnel changes, the recent transfer of starting quarterback Colar Kuhns is something no one could have foreseen.
However, the outcome against McDonogh was more predicated on the Eagles' talent.
"Dom and his staff does a great job," he said. "They have big, strong, fast kids — and they play hard. They have a great ballclub."
CH 0 7 6 0 13
MC 28 20 0 0 48
M-Hurdle 20 run (Supovitz kick)
M-Woods 67 pass from Durham (Supovitz kick)
M-Hurdle 1 run (Supovitz kick)
M-Hurdle 49 run (Supovitz kick)
M-Durham 6 run (Supovitz kick)
C-Neverdon 9 pass from Bahar (Soriano kick)
M-Hawkins 32 run M (Supovitz kick)
M-Cornwell 9 pass from Durham (kick failed)
C-Grebeleski 1 run (kick failed)