By the time Archbishop Curley figured out how to stop dynamic St. Paul's running back Dale Harris, it was too late to salvage a victory in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference showdown Friday afternoon in Brooklandville.
The senior lost 1 yard on four carries in the second half after gouging the Friars for two touchdowns and 140 yards on 15 rushes before halftime in what turned out to be a surprisingly easy 35-8 win for the host Crusaders.
No. 13 St. Paul's (4-0, 1-0 conference) snapped a six-game losing streak to Curley after bowing to the Friars, 35-0, last fall while Curley (3-2, 0-2) will now have to scramble to qualify for the playoffs after opening the season with three straight non-conference wins.
"We haven't beaten them since 2003," St. Paul's coach Paul Bernstorf said. "They're a big, fast, aggressive football team. They like to maul you, and we're more of a finesse-type team, so, yes, I had some trepidation coming in."
So far this season, St. Paul's has rolled over its opponents by a combined 181-40.
"We ran the ball well, we tackled well," Bernstorf said. "We played great in every phase of the game."
That was especially true for Harris, who is averaging 11.5 yards per carry this season.
After sophomore quarterback Anthony Pino ran 4 yards for the opening touchdown to cap off a drive in which Harris gained 42 yards on eight attempts, Harris galloped 49 yards for another score and a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Pino then connected on a 20-yard pass to senior Teddy Martinez for a 21-0 advantage with 8:21 left before halftime.
Harris carried five more times on a 90-yard drive for the Crusaders and covered the final 22 yards on a quick-hitter up the middle to build the lead to 28-0 with 46 seconds left in the half.
Pino completed a 50-yard bomb to senior wideout Rob Suite to briefly implement a slaughter-rule running clock that was turned off when Curley finally reached the end zone on a 60-yard run by senior running back Kenny Thomas.
"All year, we've been setting a goal to win a championship," Harris said. "And now we're getting after it."
No. 13 St. Paul's 35, Archbishop Curley 8
AC 0 0 8 0 8
SP 7 21 7 0 35
SP-Pino 4 run (Price kick)
SP-Harris 49 run (Price kick)
SP-Martinez 20 pass from Pino (Price kick)
SP-Harris 22 run (Price kick)
SP-Suite 50 pass from Pino (Price kick)
AC-Thomas 60 run (Thomas run)