The John Carroll Patriots scored twice on the ground and twice through the air Friday night, while the defense pitched a shutout in an 27-0 ‘Battle of Bel Air’ win over host Bel Air.
“I think overall we came out, it’s an emotional game, it like first half, who could get on the board first,” Patriots first year head coach Ken Brinkman said. “I felt with us getting on the board, it gave us a little bit of breathing room, now we can go play.”
The Patriots (3-0) got on the board with their second possession and a change at quarterback. Will Gianelli made the start and after a 10-yard, first down completion to Chimzi Chuku, Scott Smith, III came in to run the offense.
Three snaps later, Smith rolled to his left and connected with Malik Scott on an 59-yard touchdown. Garrett Phillips added the conversion kick for the 7-0 lead with 1:34 to play in the first quarter.
Bel Air’s offense, which could not find the end zone, suffered a serious blow when senior running back Hunter Hruz went down with a lower leg injury midway through the opening quarter. Hruz had just ripped off a 20-yard run and a four-yard run when the injury came. He did not return.
Without him, Bel Air (0-2) just struggled on offense. ”He’s a good player, not having him definitely put a hole in our offense, but we still needed to execute,” Bobcats head coach Dave Huryk said. “We did a lot of things wrong, not taking anything away from John Carroll, they’re a very good team, well coached and they were prepared and they got the better of us tonight.”
Good field position led the next John Carroll score which came in the final minute of the half.
From the Bel Air 34, Roman Hemby ran the ball twice for 29 total yards to the Bel Air five.
The Bobcats defense stepped up forced the Patriots to go on fourth and goal from the one. Smith, 4-for-7 for 70 yards, tossed to Dominic Berndt for a one-yard score. Phillips’ extra-point kick gave the Patriots a 14-0 lead at the half.
John Carroll added its final points in the third quarter with a pair of touchdown runs. With Gianelli back under center, the Patriots moved the ball in the air and on the ground.
Giannelli and Austin Brinkman hooked up three times on the scoring drive, including a 21-yard strike on a fourth and 18 call. Gianelli was 6-for-12 for 60 yards.
Chuku (11 carries, 41 yards) ran 20 yards to paydirt on the next snap. The PAT was no good, but the Patriots were in control, 20-0, with 4:23 to play in quarter number three.
More good field position led to the Patriots final points. Stopping the Bobcats on fourth and two from their own 22, John Carroll took over at the Bel Air 23.
A holding call pushed the ball back to the 34, but it didn’t matter. Hemby (nine carries, 108 yards) raced 34 yards for the score. Philips added the final extra-point to complete the scoring.
Bel Air had the ball twice in the final quarter inside the John Carroll 35 to start drives. The first ended on first down when Brinkman intercepted a Austin Rohlfing pass.
The Bobcats did get to the Patriots 13, but the next four down produced a two-yard gain.
The meat of that John Carroll defense was Darrius Lloyd, Isaac Myers and Ben Blessing. “We just came out, we knew we had to play a hard game and we knew they were run heavy,” Lloyd said. “Me, Isaac, Big Ben playing in the middle, we had to shut them down. We played a great game, honestly.”
Jaylen Reaves led the Bel Air offense with 67 yards on 15 carries. Marquez Kimbrough added 25 yards on seven carries. Rohlfing finished 5-for-22 for five yards and one interception.
“It’s my senior year, so, I wanted to come out strong especially this game because I know everyone in Bel Air, like my best friends, like three of my best friends are on Bel Air, so I wanted to come out, show the town something,” Lloyd said.
Other Friday scores
Harford Tech (3-0) stayed unbeaten with an 35-0 at Aberdeen (1-2) and Edgewood (2-1) rebounded for last week’s loss to beat host Joppatowne (0-3), 39-12.
Reach Randy McRoberts on twitter. @aegissports