McDonogh football coach Mike Working said yesterday's game with Loyola was a test of heart for his team. The Eagles passed the test.
Jeff Miyamoto scored on a 2-yard run with 5:44 left and Bobby Sabelhaus added the extra point to give No. 5 McDonogh (6-0, 3-0) a 16-15 victory over host Loyola in a Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference game.
The key to the McDonogh victory was that Loyola (1-4, 1-1) failed to convert several scoring chances. The Dons never punted, but the Eagles stopped them at the McDonogh 1, 7, 17, 37, 39 and 43.
The Dons finished with 350 yards on 53 plays, including 268 yards on 42 rushes. The only time they did not drive into McDonogh territory was on their final possession, when they got the ball on their 37 with two seconds left.
"Our defense, we've got a lot of heart," said Working, whose team finished with 290 yards total offense. "Our kids really believe in themselves, and they believe what they're doing and that's what wins close games."
What helped win this game was the Miyamoto's 2-yard scoring run, which capped a 10-play, 52-yard drive. The sophomore running back went right and scored with little trouble. "The blocking was really good," said Miyamoto. "It was pretty easy to get in."
Sabelhaus (15 of 20, 205 yards) also came up big on that drive. He completed four passes for 31 yards and ran three times for 15 yards in addition to kicking the game-deciding extra point.
McDonogh needed to rally after Loyola scored eight points in four plays to take a 15-9 lead early in the final quarter.
Leading 9-7, the Eagles used a big goal-line stand to stop Loyola at the 1-yard line as the third quarter ended. On the second play of the ensuing series, Sabelhaus threw a low pass behind Dennis Badham (four catches, 50 yards) in the end zone. Badham dove and caught it, but was ruled down to give Loyola a safety and tie the game at 9.
Reggie Boyce then returned the McDonogh free kick 57 yards to the Eagles' 8. Three plays later, Scott Brown (60 yards on 17 carries) scored from a yard out for a 15-9 lead with 9:50 left. The Dons went for two, but Brian Nicholas just missed Damien Austin in the corner of the end zone.
Boyce was a big part of the Loyola offense. He finished with 113 yards on nine carries, including a 74-yard run late in the third quarter that put Loyola at the McDonogh 13. Boyce also had a 44-yard punt return in the third quarter to give the Dons the ball at the McDonogh 44. The Dons failed to score both times, however, getting their only other score in the second quarter.
Sabelhaus started the scoring when he hit Jason Taylor (four catches, 47 yards) for a 16-yard touchdown with 1:05 left in the first quarter. That capped a nine-play, 95-yard drive sparked by a 52-yard Sabelhaus pass to Donta Evans (three catches, 76 yards).
Loyola answered by driving 67 yards on nine plays, finishing with a 4-yard run from Brown. Kevin Kaiser's kick gave the Dons a 7-6 lead with 9:12 left in the half. McDonogh came right back and Sabelhaus kicked a 25-yard field goal for a 9-7 halftime lead.