When: Friday, 4:30 p.m.
Coaches: Rich Stichel, John Carroll; Paul Bernstorf, St. Paul's
Last meeting: St. Paul's won, 35-9, last season
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH
John Carroll: QB-FS Brandon Lewis, Sr. (27-for-49 passing, 7 TDs, 1 INT; 35 carries, 289 yards, 6 TDs; 30 tackles, 1 INT, 1 fumble rec.); DE-WR Garrett Porte, Sr. (31 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble rec.); FB-LB Paul Lorick, Jr. (86 carries, 678 yards, 3 TDs; 22 tackles); WR-DB Austin Markley, Sr. (15 catches, 376 yards, 5 TDs; 10 tackles, 1 fumble rec.); LB Luke Rinehart, Soph. (48 tackles)
St. Paul's: RB-LB Dale Harris, Sr. (64 carries, 835 yards, 14 TDs); RB-DB Kaylon Johnson, Jr. (41 carries, 226 yards, 4 TDs; 10 catches, 207 yards, 2 TDs); WR-DB Tre Hamer, Sr. (4 catches, 118 yards, 2 TDs); WR-DB Teddy Martinez, Sr. (7 catches, 115 yards, 3 TDs); QB Anthony Pino, Soph. (28-for-46 passing, 468 yards, 9 TDs); OL Alec Auwaerter, Sr.; OL Garrett Mullin, Soph.
KEYS TO VICTORY
The Crusaders are winning by one of the area's largest margins, an average of 37.6 points. Their defense has allowed just 10 points per game but will face a test in John Carroll's triple-option offense.
"You very rarely see the option," Bernstorf said, "so it's something you have to prepare for in a week and they do a great job with it. They vary their formations to make it difficult for you to adjust to any one thing. Brandon Lewis does a nice job of running that offense, the Navy offense, so it's kind of a spread option look."
In addition to Lewis' ability to change the play at the line of scrimmage and his ability to throw the ball, Bernstorf pointed to the Patriots' speed on the perimeter, especially in Lorick and Montell Martin, as well as their top receiving threat, Markley.
"Offensively, they do a lot of really nice things and then defensively, they've pretty much been able to dominate people in their 4-4 defense," said Bernstorf, whose team last week rolled 57-8 over struggling Annapolis Area Christian, the defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference champion.
In recent years, the Crusaders have been successful against the Patriots, winning seven of the last eight meetings with the Patriots' only victory, 22-13, two years ago. But there's a lot on the line in this game as both are 2-0 in the B Conference and tied for the top spot with Boys' Latin.
The Crusaders have been rolling on offense behind top threat Harris along with Johnson and Martinez. Bernstorf gives a lot of credit to an offensive line that has been playing well all season — right guard Auwaerter (6 feet 6, 267 pounds), right tackle Roger Boyce (6-0, 215), center Mullin (6-2, 260), left tackle Evan Sauter (6-0, 220) and left guard Connor Keenan (6-1, 220).
"They've done a great job controlling the line of scrimmage," Bernstorf said. "They worked really hard on understanding the blocking assignments. We've tried to simplify the offense for them and I think it's really helped them with their confidence and coming off the ball knowing who they're supposed to block no matter what defense that we get. We've seen five different defenses so far and they've been able to adjust and continue blocking so we've been able to run the ball with Dale."
Stichel had no comment on the matchup, but from what opposing coaches have seen this fall, the Patriots, who are winning by an average of 26.7 points, are good at keeping their offense on the field, milking the clock to limit opponents' opportunities. In beating St. Mary's, 31-21, last week, they held the Saints to their fewest offensive plays this season and only 19 in the first half.
OTHER GAMES TO WATCH
No. 12 Broadneck at No. 4 Arundel, Friday, 6:30
No. 9 Mount St. Joseph at Archbishop Spalding, Friday, 7
Atholton at No. 11 Mount Hebron, Friday, 7
Reservoir at Howard, Saturday, 1
St. Frances at Severn, Saturday, 2