The rematch was nothing like the regular-season game. After St. Paul’s routed John Carroll by 34 points in mid-October, the Crusaders won, 28-27, in overtime in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championship game Saturday afternoon at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium.
St. Paul’s pulled out the win on a busted play to finish a perfect season (11-0).
John Carroll (10-3) got the ball first in overtime and on the second play, Paul Lorick scored on a 10-yard run. Alex Gambrell’s extra point gave the Patriots a 27-20 lead.
St. Paul’s tailback Dale Harris (209 yards, 22 carries) had a 6-yard touchdown on his team’s second play in overtime.
But Crusaders’ coach Paul Bernstorf coach elected to go for the win instead of the tie, and it paid off.
Sophomore quarterback Anthony Pino found senior wide receiver Rob Suite in the back corner of the end zone for the 2-point conversion.
“We were going to run power left because we thought we had it,” Bernstorf said. “But Dale got so excited and ran by (Pino) before he could hand it off. So Pino just bootlegged back around and found him and threw it in there. It was one of those drawn up in the dirt plays.”
St. Paul’s had to come back from its biggest deficit of the season after John Carroll jumped out to a 16-0 by taking advantage of two turnovers.
“We didn’t need to change anything,” John Carroll coach Rich Stichel said of the regular season loss. “We just needed to play better. We were the better team today. We just didn’t come out with the win.”
John Carroll scored on its second drive in the first half after Montell Martin picked off a Pino pass for the first of his two interceptions.
Thirteen plays later, senior Brandon Lewis went in on a quarterback sneak with 43 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Patriots got the ball right back after they recovered an onsides kick that was attempted from the St. Paul’s 30 because of two personal fouls. John Carroll took over at the 16 and settled for an Alex Gambrell 27-yard field goal to go ahead 10-0.
St. Paul’s problems continued on its second drive when the Crusaders fumbled. John Carroll capitalized on Brandon Lewis’ 25-yard touchdown pass to Austin Markley.
The Crusaders finally got going late in the second quarter when Harris scored on a 40-yard run on an inside trap.
St. Paul’s cut the deficit to 17-14 on its first possession of the second half. Harris went up to the middle for a 90-yard score and Pino teamed up with Kaylon Johnson for the 2-point conversion.
On its second series, John Carroll got down to the 1-yard line, but fullback Gus Lane was stopped twice, including the second time by Harris, who also plays linebacker.
The Patriots extended their lead to 20-14 with 4:39 left on Gambrell’s 27 field goal.
The Crusaders, however, managed to tie it 20-20 when Pino hit Johnson on a crossing pattern for a 15-yard score with 1:43 remaining.
But the snap was high on the extra point and Suite, the holder, was tackled at the three.