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Memorable moments in sports from 2020 season in the Laurel Leader

Buffalo Bulls running back Jaret Patterson (26) scores a touchdown against the Northern Illinois Huskies during the first half of an NCAA football game on Nov. 4. Patterson, a Pallotti High graduate, scored eight touchdowns in a 70-41 win over Kent State.
Buffalo Bulls running back Jaret Patterson (26) scores a touchdown against the Northern Illinois Huskies during the first half of an NCAA football game on Nov. 4. Patterson, a Pallotti High graduate, scored eight touchdowns in a 70-41 win over Kent State. (Kamil Krzaczynski/AP)

The COVID-19 health nightmare affected people across the entire country in many adverse ways in 2020 and sports in the Laurel area were not immune to being infected with change.

Cancellation of spring prep seasons in March before they even started left stands empty and athletes without games to play or daily practices. Private school athletics returned in the fall briefly, but when the coronavirus numbers escalated they were shut down again.

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The Laurel Leader sports staff looked at some memorable moments in 2020.

Pallotti graduate scores 8 TDs in Division I college game

Pallotti running back Jaret Patterson runs for a touchdown in high school against Boys' Latin. Patterson declared for the NFL draft this week.
Pallotti running back Jaret Patterson runs for a touchdown in high school against Boys' Latin. Patterson declared for the NFL draft this week. (Steve Ruark / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

What St. Vincent Pallotti graduate Jaret Patterson did carrying the ball for Buffalo University in a 70-41 thrashing of Kent State captured the attention of the entire college football nation.

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The 5-foot-9, 195-pound running back rushed for 409 yards on 36 carries and scored eight touchdowns.

His eight touchdowns tied a Football Bowl Subdivision record and his 409 yards rushing was second all-time.

He shared that spot with Howard Griffith, of Illinois, who did it in 1991. Oklahoma’s Samaje Perrine set the single-game rushing mark of 427 yards in 2014.

Patterson scored on runs of 3, 31, 42, 49, 1, 7, 11 and 58 yards, leading the game analyst and former NFL player Ross Tucker to tweet: “I could call games for 40 more years and I’ll never see a performance like that by RB Jaret Patterson again. Unreal.”

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It was the second straight game Patterson rushed for over 300 yards for the Bulls who improved to 4-0 with the victory.

In the previous week’s 42-17 victory over Bowling Green, he had 301 yards and scored four touchdowns.

Patterson led the FBS in average rushing yards per game with 178.6 this season. His 19 touchdowns were second in the country to the 24 by Alabama’s Najee Harris. His 7.6 yards-per-rush average was third nationally among FBS backs with at least 100 carries. Patterson rushed for 1,072 yards in only six games,

At Pallotti, during his senior year, he rushed for 2.045 yards and scored 23 touchdowns.

After his junior season at Buffalo Patterson declared for the NFL draft.

Pallotti kickers ends season with convincing shutout win

The Pallotti boys soccer team huddles after a 6-0 victory over Gerstell Academy. It was the Panthers sixth win and their last game after a spike in COVID-19 case forced cancellation of the rest of the season.
The Pallotti boys soccer team huddles after a 6-0 victory over Gerstell Academy. It was the Panthers sixth win and their last game after a spike in COVID-19 case forced cancellation of the rest of the season. (Craig Clary / BSMG)

When the private school soccer season began this past fall, the St. Vincent Pallotti boys soccer team was rolling along with a 6-1 record after a 6-0 shutout of Gerstell Academy.

It was the fourth straight victory for coach Charlie Peterson’s squad before a spike in COVID-19 cases forced the cancellation of the rest of the season.

The win over Gerstell Academy was the fourth shutout for the defense anchored by junior goalie Travis Holiday.

Offensively, freshman Ben Miller had two goals and an assist, James Ikbudo had a goal and assist and Ike Gbolagun added two assists to lead the Panthers.

Tommy Bello, Raul Villafane and Connor Olsen also scored for the winners.

Pallotti girls basketball reach IAAM finals

St. Vincent Pallotti's Eniya Russell scored 387 points in 26 games (14.9 ppg) for the Panthers. She is currently playing for the University of South Carolina and averaging 7.0 points a game.
St. Vincent Pallotti's Eniya Russell scored 387 points in 26 games (14.9 ppg) for the Panthers. She is currently playing for the University of South Carolina and averaging 7.0 points a game. (Steve Ruark / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Pallotti’s first trip to the IAAM A Conference finals came on the heels of a spirited 46-44 semifinal victory over McDonogh on Feb.13.

That advanced the Panthers to the championship game against St. Frances on Feb. 16, where Pallotti lost, 55-51, as St. Frances celebrated its fifth straight championship.

Against McDonogh, senior Eniya Russell scored a game-high 20 points and classmate Senior Jania Hall added eight points for the Panthers.

“We said this game is going to be determined by doing the little things and we knew it was going to be a battle all the way through,” coach Joe Mathews said.

The loss ended McDonogh’s 7-game winning streak and the Panthers (21-7) extended their winning streak to seven.

In the championship game loss to St. Frances, Hall led Pallotti with 19 points.

After the season Pallotti’s Russell was selected to the girls McDonald’s All-American basketball team.

Whittaker wins Gatorade award

Juliette Whittaker of Mount de Sales cross country finished 10th in Foot Locker national championships.
Juliette Whittaker of Mount de Sales cross country finished 10th in Foot Locker national championships. (victahsailer / Baltimore Sun)

In January, Laurel resident Juliette Whittaker, of Mount de Sales High, was named Gatorade Maryland Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year for the 2019 season.

The 5-foot-7 sophomore won the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championship in the fall with a time of 19 minutes, 8.58 seconds, breaking the tape 1:29.78 seconds ahead of her next closest competitor and leading the Sailors to a third-place finish.

Whittaker also won the Maryland/DC Private School Championships in 18:59.

After finishing seventh at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships, she earned All-America status by taking 13th at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships.

Laurel track shines indoors

The Laurel boys indoor track team finished seventh in the Class 4A Central Region track meet held at the 5th Regiment Armory in Baltimore City.

Laurel’s 4X200 relay team of sophomores Marcus Jones and Amarii Fontanelle and seniors Markus Smith and Isaac Ojo were third in a time of 1:39.22.

Fontanelle, Jones, Smith and junior Michael Bethune were third in the 4X400 relay in a time of 3:40.40.

Individually, Ojo was fourth in the 55-meter hurdles in 8:30 and junior Stephen Agyei was eighth (1:39.22).

Senior Devonte Cumberbatch was sixth in shot put (41-feet, 8.50 inches).

Laurel jockey reaches milestone

Because of COVID-19 Jockey Victor Carrasco wears facial covering before he rides Ankle Monitor in the Miss Preakness Stakes, the fifth race of the undercard in the 145th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. Carrasco earned his 1,000th career victory in 2020.
Because of COVID-19 Jockey Victor Carrasco wears facial covering before he rides Ankle Monitor in the Miss Preakness Stakes, the fifth race of the undercard in the 145th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. Carrasco earned his 1,000th career victory in 2020. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

Jockey Victor Carrasco earned his 1,000th career victory on board Ronald A. Brown’s Justin Front rolled to a 1¼-length triumph on Jan. 26 at Laurel Park.

Justin Front ran 7 furlongs in 1:26.10 over a muddy main track under Carrasco, 27, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice rider of 2013.

“It’s a great feeling,” Carrasco said. “After dealing with so many injuries and having some health issues and everything, it feels amazing.”

Pallotti football nearly pulls upset

Pallotti's Kenneth Prince rushes forward for what at first appeared to be a touchdown in overtime, but he was ruled down just before crossing the plane. Mount Saint Joseph defeated the Panthers, 22-19, in double overtime.
Pallotti's Kenneth Prince rushes forward for what at first appeared to be a touchdown in overtime, but he was ruled down just before crossing the plane. Mount Saint Joseph defeated the Panthers, 22-19, in double overtime. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)

In a football season that was shortened because of COVID-19, Pallotti opened with consecutive victories over Concordia Prep and Calvert Hall.

They came close to upsetting defending MIAA A Conference champion Mount Saint Joseph in the third game, but fell, 22-19, in double-overtime.

Pallotti coach Tony Ashley had a lot to be thankful for with his team’s performance.

“I just wanted my defense on the field first to see what they had and we had a shot,” Ashley said. “They [Mount Saint Joseph] just played a heck of a stand in the last two plays. We didn’t get the call — we didn’t get it in, but I’m proud of my boys. That’s the A champion from last year. It stings, but I was thinking that we could win this thing.”

Scott Martin, who had a kick blocked earlier in overtime, delivered a game-winning 32-yard field goal as his kick bounced off the right upright and over the crossbar.

It was the only game of the season for the Gaels and it was the final one for the Panthers as a spike in the COVID-19 cases forced cancellation of the rest of the season.

The Panthers rallied in the second half, scoring on a botched snap and fumble recovery in the end zone by edge rusher Braxton Harsley.

Pallotti quarterback Kenneth Prince threw a 40-yard pass to William Webster-Brown and Prince rushed the ball in from 20 yards for 19-13 deficit in the third quarter. Prince evened the score with a 1-yard touchdown plunge to make it 19-19 going into overtime.

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