The John Carroll Patriots held off a late comeback bid by visiting St. Mary's Friday night to score a 28-20 victory in the MIAA B Conference football semifinals.
With the win, John Carroll advances to play St. Paul's in the conference championship game at noon Saturday at Unitas Stadium in Towson. St. Paul's topped the Patriots, 34-0, in their earlier regular season meeting.
Holding a 21-7 lead at halftime, the Patriots came up with the winning touchdown on their first drive of the third quarter as Montell Martin broke lose from 55 yards out and raced into the St. Mary's end zone.
St. Mary's scored twice in the game's final five minutes, but the Patriots, who blocked the visitors' final extra-point attempt to keep themselves ahead by eight, held onto the ball till the end to seal the victory.
Martin scored the Patriots' first touchdown in the opening quarter.
After St. Mary's tied the contest, 7-7, with a five-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter, the Patriots went ahead for good, scoring on a 59-yard drive that was capped by Paul Lorick's five-yard touchdown run.
With five minutes left before the half, the Patriots padded their lead with another touchdown as quarterback Brandon Lewis tossed a 32-yard touchdown pass to Austin Markley.
For the game, John Carroll kicker Alex Gambrell was 4-for-4 on extra-point attempts.
Martin led John Carroll on the ground, registering 207 yards on 20 carries. Lorick had 72 yards on 15 carries, while Walter Roche ran the ball seven times for 53 yards.
Lewis completed three of four passes for 77 yards, and ran for 67 yards on 12 rushing attempts.
Markley led John Carroll in receiving, catching two passes for 69 yards.
John Carroll's Luke Rinehart had eight tackles and one quarterback sack in the victory, while teammate Andrew Reininger also had eight tackles. Garrett Porte put up seven tackles and had one sack for the Patriots.
Lewis and Gambrell each had one interception.