John Carroll loses heartbreaker in MIAA B football final

Unitas Stadium, Towson University – The John Carroll Patriots sat dazed after the final play of Saturday's MIAA B Conference football title game, having just watched the undefeated St. Paul's Crusaders nail down a 28-27 victory by converting a two-point conversion in overtime.

The game moved to overtime after the fourth quarter expired with the score knotted, 20-20.

John Carroll, which led 17-0 at one point in the first half, was up 20-14 with two minutes left in regulation when St. Paul's tied things up with a 25-yard touchdown pass. With the outcome of the game hanging on the extra-point kick, the Patriots got an unexpected gift, as the Crusaders botched the snap, leaving the score at 20-20.

St. Paul's won the overtime coin toss and elected to defend first, giving John Carroll the ball on the 10 yard line. After an incomplete pass from quarterback Brandon Lewis, Patriot running back Paul Lorick took a handoff and blasted through the middle for a touchdown. John Carroll kicker Alex Gambrell nailed the extra-point attempt to give his team a 27-20 edge.

Needing a score to keep the game alive, St. Paul's got a six-yard touchdown on its second play from scrimmage. Following a time out, the Crusaders came back onto the field for a two-point conversion attempt. If the Patriots could hold their opponents, they would win, but St. Paul's delivered the game-winning points on a short pass into the end zone.

Following a turnover via an interception by John Carroll's Montell Martin in the opening quarter, the Patriots got there first touchdown on a one-yard scramble by Lewis. Gambrell hit the point-after kick to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead.

Later in the first quarter, after the Patriots recovered an onside kick, Gambrell put a 26-yard field goal attempt through the uprights to give John Carroll a 10-0 edge.

John Carroll pushed its lead to 17-0 with just over five minutes left in the first half, with Lewis hitting receiver Austin Markley with a 16-yard touchdown pass.

St. Paul's scored once before the halftime break, then had another touchdown on its first play from scrimmage in the third quarter.

Both teams went silent until there were a little more than four minutes left, when Gambrell iced a 36-yard field goal to give the Patriots a 20-14 lead.

Lewis completed 11 of 19 passes for 110 yards, and rushed for 34 yards on 15 carries.

Leading the Patriots on the ground was Lorick, who racked up 118 yards on 20 carries.

Martin caught five passes for a team-best 51 receiving yards, while Markley was right behind him with 50 yards on five receptions. Mark Michael caught one nine-yard pass in the loss.

Julian Meares, Gus Lane and Lewis led the Patriots' defense, with each putting up eight tackles. Luke Rinehart had seven tackles for John Carroll, while teammate Jerome Brown had six tackles.

Martin picked off two St. Paul's pass attempts and recovered one fumble. Lorick pounded on one of the Crusaders' fumbles.

Gambrell punted four times four 160 yards.

With the loss, John Carroll finished its 2012 campaign at 9-3.

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