Senior Craig Oliver had been a running back his entire career before stepping into Patterson's starting quarterback role this fall.
Against Archbishop Curley at Saturday's I-95 Kickoff Classic at Morgan State, Oliver's rushing instincts took over at a critical moment.
With the Clippers clinging to a one-point lead and working from their own 23-yard line, Oliver took the snap and headed toward the right sideline. Much of Curley's defense had him pinned in, so he lateraled the ball to Anthony Dandridge, who raced 72 yards for a touchdown.
The score gave the Clippers a 20-13 lead with 2:36 to go, and that score held up for a victory in what both coaches said they hope will be a renewed rivalry between the two Eastern Baltimore city schools.
"Craig is such a smart player," Patterson coach Corey Johnson said. "You wish you could say as a coach, 'Oh, we drilled that,' but we didn't. … To see Anthony there and pitch it to him was just a great play — a risky play, but a great play."
For Oliver, who broke his own 65-yard touchdown run in the first half, pitching the ball to Dandridge was simply instinctual.
"I saw the blitz coming," Oliver said, "so I tried to get to the outside, but they grabbed me up. I saw my wide receiver Anthony Dandridge standing there and the whole defense was coming towards me. I don't know what happened. I just flipped him the ball. I hoped he could at least get a first [down], but he came up with a big play."
The Clippers came into the season with only two returning starters from last year's state Class 4A semifinalist team, so Oliver led the way, rushing for 115 yards on 14 carries. He also hit Derwin Beasley with a 34-yard touchdown pass that gave the Clippers the lead for good, 14-13, with 8:12 to go.
"Their quarterback is excellent," Curley coach Sean Murphy said. "He was a man among boys today. He's going to carry that team. We hit him pretty good today, and he still came back strong and did a lot of good things."
The Friars broke some big plays of their own in a game that featured no short-yardage touchdowns. Matt Zelechowski, who gained 93 yards on seven carries, scored on 41- and 26-yard runs.
After the Clippers boosted their lead to 20-13, the Friars made another big play when quarterback Morgan McColgan hit Shawn Ryan with a 27-yard pass to the Clippers' 23-yard line, but a Curley holding penalty wiped that out. Two plays later, the Friars fumbled the snap and Joshua Beasley recovered for Patterson with 1:02 left.
"It was a little disappointing for us," Murphy said. "We don't throw very much, and because we run the ball, it requires our boys to all work together as a team. Then we had a few mental mistakes. We had a few botches that hurt us a little at critical times."
Murphy felt his team had the momentum before halftime, taking a 7-0 lead into the break, but he thought it could have been 14-0. On the Friars' last drive of the half, they reached the 4-yard line when McColgann hit Avery Williams with a screen pass, but a holding penalty negated that pickup.
Westlake 21, Urbana 20 2OT: Kofi Toku's extra point after Marquel Lee's 18-yard touchdown pass to Deandre McCoy made the difference as the Wolverines, from Waldorf, took their season opener over the defending state Class 4A champions at the I-95 Kickoff Classic. McCoy tied the game at 14 on an 89-yard kick return with 10 minutes left in regulation. After neither team scored in the first overtime, the Hawks, from Frederick County, got a five-yard touchdown pass from Michael Spahr to Brad Zauchia to open the second overtime, but the conversion pass failed.
P 0 0 8 12 -- 20
AC 0 7 6 0 -- 13
AC—Zelechowski 41 run, Budnichuk kick
P—Oliver 65 run, King pass from Oliver
AC—Zelechowski 26 run, kick failed
P—D.Beasely 34 pass from Oliver, run failed
P—Dandridge 72 fumble rec., run failedCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun