The last two times St. Mary's football team played Archbishop Spalding, the Saints couldn't come close to their Anne Arundel County rival, but Saints coach Steve Erxleben predicted that Thursday night's game would not be a blowout.
He was right, but the Cavaliers still came away with the victory, 34-20, in the 9/11 Patriot Classic at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Bryce Carrasco's 24-yard scoring run with 6:23 left in the game brought the Saints within 28-20, but Spalding's Christopher Zawitoski broke a 41-yard run on the Cavaliers' next drive to set up a 31-yard field goal by Kevin Weiman four plays later.
After Cavaliers cornerback Ronnie Beswick's interception all but sealed the win, Weiman added a 29-yard field goal with 1:14 left for a 14-point lead.
The Cavaliers, who play in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference while the Saints play in the B Conference, got two rushing touchdown from quarterback Zach Abey.
The Saints (1-1) were within seven points and had a chance to tie in the final minute before halftime, but safety Daniel Barber picked off Spencer Coyle's pass in the end zone and after the break, the Cavaliers (1-1) ate up the the third quarter with their running game and scored twice.
One-yard scoring runs by Melvin Gowl and Zach Abey in the third quarter gave the Cavaliers a 28-7 lead going into the final quarter. The Saints scored on a 32-yard pass from Coyle to Omarion White with 11:11 left to pull within 28-13.
A Spalding turnover on the Cavaliers' next play from scrimmage gave the Saints another chance, but Jack Havens deflected a Coyle pass on fourth-and-8and the Cavaliers took over again.
The two teams didn't play last year, but the Cavaliers, who play in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, won 37-0 in 2010 and 45-7 in 2011. The Saints, who play in the B Conference, won 14-7 in 2008.
The Cavaliers got the jump on the Saints with a couple of first-half drives that ended in touchdowns runs by Evan Byrd and Abey.
Byrd's 35-yard run around the left side and Weiman's extra point gave the Cavaliers a 7-0 lead with 4:27 left in the first quarter, capping an 11-play, 71-yard drive.
Abey ran 11 yards for the second touchdown after the Saints helped the drive along with a couple of costly penalties, including one for roughing Abey on a short pass to David Garland.
SM 0 7 0 13 --- 20
AS 7 6 15 3 -- 34
AS—Byrd 35 run (Weiman kick)
AS—Abey 11 run (kick failed)s
SM—Carrasco 4 run (Ellis kick)
AS—Gowl 1 run (Reilly run)
AS—Abey 1 run (Weiman kick)
SM—White 32 pass from Coyle (Ellis failed)
SM—Carrasco 24 run (Ellis kick)
AS—Weiman 30 FG
AS—Weiman 29 FG