When analyzing fifth-ranked McDonogh's 31-15 win yesterday over host Mount St. Joseph, there's really no need to look at the stat sheet.
The only numbers you will need to know are 17 and 126.
The former is the uniform number of McDonogh speedster Dwayne Stukes. The latter is how many yards the 5-foot-11 junior moved the ball on two consecutive plays, turning a close game into a rout.
At his own 46 with six seconds left in the first half, Stukes ran a fly pattern down the left sideline, blew past single coverage, caught a long floater from quarterback Bobby Sabelhaus and won a race to the end zone to make it 17-7 as the half expired.
Then, on the opening kickoff of the second half, he fielded a bouncer at the 28, followed his blockers up the middle and took off for a 72-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 24-7. Two plays, two touchdowns, total elapsed time -- 17 seconds.
"That hurt," said Mount St. Joe coach Tim Perry, "That took the wind right out of us."
For the Eagles running back, however, it was something out of a dream.
"I've never had two big plays like that back to back," said Stukes. "I'd have to say that in a way it broke their backs. We knew we had to come out here and play hard, since this was such a big game for us."
The win improved the Eagles' record to 5-0, including 2-0 in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference, and extended their winning streak to 11.
But it also was a big boost to the team's confidence going into next week's game against Loyola.
"We came in today with so much confidence that we'd do well," said Sabelhaus. "We didn't take them lightly, and it paid off. They couldn't stop us offensively."
With McDonogh ahead, 3-0, courtesy of a 29-yard field goal by Sabelhaus, the Eagles extended their lead to 10-0 on a 79-yard touchdown pass from the 6-foot-6 quarterback to Dennis Badham.
The Gaels' only touchdown of the first half came on a 7-yard pass from freshman Lucas Phillips to Darryl White.
"I thought we matched up well with them offensively and defensively, and my coaching staff had this team prepared," said Perry, whose team fell to 1-5, including 0-2 in the league. "Any team that beats my team by that score is for real."
Though big plays were the difference in this one, Sabelhaus said they were anything but a surprise tactic.
"We're a big-play team," said Sabelhaus. "We come at you and beat it down your throat as much as we can, then go for the kill. If we don't make it, we'll try it again. That's how we play football."