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College Football: Terror stunned by another Catholic rally

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The gut-punches have to be getting old.

Less than 4 minutes remained in McDaniel's season opener Saturday against Catholic, and the Green Terror's effort appeared good enough to start with a win and end a dismal losing streak that dated back to 2014. The visiting team was still celebrating its first interception return for a touchdown in five years as time ticked away and Catholic trailed by two scores.

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But the Cardinals, just as they did a year ago, put together a remarkable rally and stunned McDaniel yet again.

The home team tied the game in the final minute of regulation and won it in overtime, 28-21, on a first-possession touchdown pass followed by a defensive stand.

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The Terror, who led 21-6 with 3:30 remaining, lost for the second year in a row after holding a fourth-quarter lead against the Cards.

Perhaps this one was more devastating because of the overtime drama, but McDaniel players and coaches tried to keep things in perspective.

"Everything from last year we left [behind]. This is a whole new year," said junior Ray Doh, who sparkled on defense with seven tackles, two pass breakups, a fumble recovery, and a sack. "We have a whole new 'Era Terror' thing going on. ... So we're not really focused on anything that happened last year. We treated this game as a new season, as a new start of the year."

Last season, Catholic won 34-33 by outscoring McDaniel 20-10 in the final frame. On Saturday, the Green Terror led 21-6 after Keegan Romanoff's 30-yard pick-six with 8:43 to play.

And their defense forced Catholic into a turnover-on-downs situation a few minutes later, keeping momentum on McDaniel's side and maintaining the 15-point lead.

Until Cardinals senior Justin Page blocked a Terror punt from McDaniel's 20-yard line, and Jake Marcelino recovered the ball in the end zone for a Catholic score.

McDaniel went three-and-out after that, and the Cardinals got the ball back with 2:18 remaining. Cards quarterback Jorge Pola converted a fourth-and-12 from his 23-yard line to keep the drive alive, then found Kyle Catalano for a 28-yard pickup.

Two plays later, Pola connected with Lucas Morley for a 17-yard touchdown with 1:05 to play. Catholic needed a two-point conversion to tie it up, and Morley ran to the near-side corner of the end zone for a nifty grab.

McDaniel won the overtime coin toss and started on defense, but Catholic needed just five plays to score again — a 3-yard pass from Pola to Morley.

The Green Terror moved the ball inside the 5 on their possession, but got no further. Will Koester, in at quarterback for starter Matthew Callahan, had three incompletions on second-and-goal from the 5. McDaniel's last gasp, an intended pass from Koester to Andre Henry Jr., was broken up by Paige.

The Cardinals rejoiced in a mob scene on the field. McDaniel slumped to its sideline and waited in the post-game handshake line before huddling with coach Mike Dailey, their losing streak extended to 20 in a row.

"We didn't discuss it a whole lot," Dailey said, referring to a second straight frustrating loss to Catholic. "We just talked about how much it hurts. You've got to be professional and hold your head high."

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Callahan went 13 for 21 for 170 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions before leaving in the fourth quarter. Dailey said Callahan suffered a rib injury.

John Chamberlin led McDaniel's rushing attack with 75 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown, a 4-yard run that gave the Green Terror a 14-6 lead with 5 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Tyler DeMent, a senior receiver, caught five passes for 65 yards and a touchdown.

Doh and Romanoff led the way on defense, along with linebackers Tucker Evans (eight tackles) and Matt Quattrone (seven).

Positives for sure, but the end result was a sour one for Dailey and his players when a two-score lead late in the fourth quarter wasn't good enough.

"The blocked punt was painful," Dailey said. "Some things that we didn't do well at times were critical. And I hope we can learn from them."

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