Loyola Blakefield pounded out 312 yards rushing on 51 carries on its way to a 27-7 triumph over host St. Paul’s on Friday afternoon in the football season opener for both teams.
The Dons distributed the ball to 14 different carriers and built a 20-7 halftime lead and controlled the clock the rest of the way.
Loyola’s Michael Colgan scored on a 12-yard run in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead and Michael Bell’s 5-yard run and Gavin Rowley’s extra point made it 13-0 in the second quarter.
The closest the Crusaders would get was 13-7 in the second quarter as senior quarterback Anthony Pino connected with classmate Jack Pollard on a 12-yard touchdown pass.
Pino, a three-year starter, passed for 1,875 yards and 19 touchdowns for the two-time defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference champions last season.
“Clearly the difference in the game were the stats,” St. Paul’s coach Paul Bernstorf said. “They were able to run for an average of six yards per carry.”
The MIAA A Conference Dons bumped the lead to 20-7 before halftime when Loyola’s John Goska connected on a 33-yard touchdown pass to Will D’Angelo.
Biafra Okoronkwo’s 37-yard run in the fourth quarter capped the scoring for Loyola, which avenged last year’s 26-21 loss to St. Paul’s in the opener.
“When you can run the ball, you control the clock and you control the momentum,” Bernstorf said. “We just didn’t play as well as they did today.”
Loyola coach Brant Hall was impressed with the work of an offensive line that includes Austin Hurdle, Tyler Covey, Ryan Gallagher, Darren Seward and Patrick Eby.
“They did a real good job of not only executing, but communicating with the coaches,” Hall said.
Defensively, the Dons got strong play from senior linebacker Ben Evans.
“Ben Evans was great on defense,” Hall said.
They also got some big plays in the secondary from junior Rick Nickel, who had an interception and delivered a big hit on a tackle, and sophomore Luke McWright, who had an interception and a sack.
Loyola will try to improve to 2-0 on when it plays at home against St. John’s at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6.
St. Paul’s will try to even its record at 1-1 when it plays at home against Hereford at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 5.