Nothing was going to stop Loyola's Jake Nordhausen from ending his team's four-year losing streak to archrival Calvert Hall in Thursday's 94th annual Turkey Bowl.
Especially not the Cardinals' offensive line.
In what's believed to be the second overtime game in series history, Nordhausen, a 6-foot-4 junior, broke through the line and dove forward to block Jake Soriano's extra-point attempt in overtime, sealing Loyola 21-20 win over the Cardinals before an announced 7,709 at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.
"I ran up and dove, and hit it with one hand," Nordhausen said. "It was amazing. I looked over [for a flag] because someone said I might've gone offsides, but I was just like `Thank you, thank you.' "
The win, the first for Loyola (3-8) against Calvert Hall (3-9) since 2008, extended Loyola's lead in the all-time series to 49-37-8. It also marked the closest finish to a Turkey Bowl since 2000, when Calvert Hall won, 7-6.
In a down year for both programs, the win had even more meaning to players.
"It means a tremendous amount to this community that we won and ended this streak," Dons running back Damon Hazelton said. "It's just unreal -- a beautiful moment for Loyola."
Hazelton, a junior, played a prime role in that moment, rushing for a game-high 155 yards on 18 carries, including two touchdowns, as the Dons outrushed the Cardinals, 178-24.
His 66-yard run tied the game in the third quarter, then his 6-yard scoring run on the second play of overtime -- in which both teams had four plays to score from the opponents' 10 -- gave Loyola the lead.
Calvert Hall then had a chance to force a second overtime when quarterback Kenji Bahar hit tight end Erik Evans with a 9-yard scoring pass to the corner of the end zone. Nordhausen's heroics, however, then ended it.
"We just wanted someone to get a push and try to block the [extra-point attempt], and Jake made a heck of a play," Loyola coach Brant Hall said. "He went out there and got the job done."
Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis added: "Their kids played hard. They played in a way that they deserved the opportunity to win. Our seniors played hard, and they left it on the field."
Early in this one, Loyola seemed primed for an easy win.
The Dons opened the game with an 80-yard drive, helped along when Hazelton broke outside for a 30-yard gain, with another 15 yards added for a late hit.
Seven plays later, quarterback Ben Evans scored on a keeper from the 2.
Already staked with the lead, Loyola then got the ball right back when Adam Deuber squibbed the ensuing kickoff, which bounced off an up man and into the arms of Dons sophomore Darren Seward at the Cardinals' 44.
But that's where Loyola's early momentum ended.
Fighting for a first-down on fourth-and-2, Evans fumbled on a hit by Calvert Hall linebacker Kevin Nickel near the sideline. Cornerback Juantez McRae scooped up the loose ball and ran 68 yards down the left sideline for the score, tying the game.
Then, following a three-and-out by Loyola deep in its own territory, Calvert Hall's Nick Smith burst through the line to block Jake Barwick's punt. On the next play, Nickel took the handoff, started right and followed his linemen in from the 3 with 3:29 left in the quarter.
Though Loyola ran 23 of the first 24 offensive plays, Calvert Hall had a 14-7 lead.
The score stayed that way until midway through the third quarter, when Hazelton took the ball at his own 34, surged through a hole, faked out a pair of defenders and took off toward the end zone.
"It was actually funny, because the quarterback was going to keep it on the option play," Hazelton said. "He had a decision to make to either keep or give. I could feel him pulling it [away], but I saw a hole so I had to really grab it."
Loyola set up a prime chance to regain the lead in regulation when linebacker Jack Hurley picked off Bahar's pass over the middle with 8:24 left and returned it to Calvert Hall's 29. But the Dons then failed to move the ball and were forced to punt.
Bahar finished 11-for-19 for 103 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
For Loyola, which entered the day on a six-game losing streak, the win was an elixir, of sorts.
"All week we were talking about, 'Look, we can't do anything about the record, but we can do something about this game,' " Hall said. "And if we win this game, a lot of the season goes right out the window. These guys came out here and got the job done."
(at Towson University)
Calvert Hall 14 0 0 0 6 -- 20
Loyola 7 0 7 0 7 -- 21
L-Evans 2 run (Rowley kick)
CH-McRae 68 fumble return (Soriano kick)
CH-Nickel 3 run (Soriano kick)
L-Hazelton 66 run (Rowley kick)
L-Hazelton 6 run (Soriano kick)
CH-Evans 9 pass from Bahar (kick blocked)