Making the most of his only two carries in the game, senior wingback Ed Grant scored two touchdowns yesterday, as No. 4 Calvert Hall (3-0) opened Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference play with a run-dominated 17-9 victory over No. 15 Cardinal Gibbons (1-2 overall and 1-1) in Towson.
Grant's first touchdown put Calvert Hall ahead to stay early in the second quarter, as he raced untouched into the end zone on an 11-yard slant to the left to break a 3-3 tie. That run ended an eight-play, 77-yard Cardinals drive after the teams had traded first-quarter field goals.
In the third quarter, Gibbons, which shocked previously No. 1-ranked Poly last week, drove to within the Cardinals 5-yard line behind the running of senior Eugene Marshall.
But sophomore quarterback Howard Keener's errant pitchout -- smothered by Marshall on third down -- moved the ball back to the 10-yard line. On the next play, Calvert Hall's Mickey Lippy stepped in front of Damon Fleary at the 5 to intercept Keener's pass.
"That was the turning point of the game" said Cardinals coach Bill Mackley. "They were going in for the tie if we don't come up with the big defensive play."
Instead, the Cardinals offense marched methodically on a 15-play, 87-yard scoring drive with senior tailback Will Harcum (19 carries for 105 yards) and senior fullback Ivan Dow (13-for-86) doing most of the damage until Grant stepped into the spotlight again.
"Grant made me a hero," said Mackley, of the 8-yard touchdown run that culminated the long drive. "It was a busted play that he turned around. That was all Eddie."
Grant took a pitch to the left side and broke away from a pair of Crusader tacklers, spinning clear and reversing his direction to the opposite sideline where he found the corner of the end zone. "Our line is just so aggressive, they gave me time to do something," Grant said.
"Our kids felt all along that we could take advantage of the run against their line," said Mackley. "Our offensive line did a heck of a job."
The Cardinals defense limited Marshall, who had gained 374 yards in his previous two games, to 98 yards on 18 carries, and it came up with two fumble recoveries [one by Grant] and an
Gibbons' touchdown came on a 37-yard pass play from Keener to Rodney Manigo in the final minute. But Brett Rurka recovered the onside kick for the Cardinals to clinch the win.