Ahead by four touchdowns at 10th-ranked Mount St. Joseph late in the first half yesterday, Landon's Justin Duffie "thought we had them."
Not so fast. The visiting Bears (5-2) of Montgomery County allowed 28 unanswered points before holding off the Gaels (6-3) in a 42-28 victory.
Duffie led Landon's defense with five sacks, causing two fumbles that teammate Ted Hayes recovered. The Bears' Mike Petrash had a sack and a fumble recovery, and Dwaine Alleyne, an interception.
The Gaels' Matt Stoffel collected his 15th sack and Bryan Harrison had an interception.
"We come to Baltimore feeling there's something to prove," said Duffie, who hopes to play football and lacrosse at Maryland.
"But No. 29's [Rob Abiamiri] a great player, and their QB [Joe Peeler] took some hits and hung in there."
Landon led 28-0 with 2: 47 left in the first half after Duane Tyler's fumble recovery set up J. R. Bordley's 14-yard run and the first of two extra-point kicks by quarterback Ted Lamade (8-for-16, 199 yards).
It had been a first half of missed chances for St. Joe as sophomore Isaac Kufour (102 rushing yards) was thwarted on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line, and other drives ended at Landon's 30, 25 and 15.
But Kufour scored from 4 yards to make it 28-7 with 25 seconds left in the first half. And his 2-yard run, with 2: 50 left in the third, made it 28-14.
Then Peeler (18-for-35, 272 yards) made it 28-22 with 6: 39 left in the game, his 29-yard pass to J. J. Outlaw (six receptions, 99 yards) being followed by Steve Sroka's conversion run.
A halfback-option pass made it 28-all with 3: 16 left. Peeler pitched to backup QB Todd Plajzer, who found Abiamiri (six catches, 133 yards) at the 20-yard line, and Abiamiri out-ran two defenders to complete the 58-yard play.
But the Gaels failed to get off Kufour's extra-point kick after having cleanly converted two earlier.
"If we go ahead, we might have finished them, but give them credit for coming back," said Gaels coach Mike Working.
Landon regained momentum, and a 34-28 lead, with 3: 10 to play on the ensuing four-play, 67-yard drive. George Boiardi (196 yards, 12 carries) scored his third touchdown, a 9-yarder, with 2: 05 remaining. His earlier 50-yarder had given Landon a 21-0 lead.
The Gaels had one last chance. But facing second-and-10 at his own 25-yard line, Peeler was intercepted by Patrick Straub, whose 37-yard scoring return was followed by Lamade's conversion run with two minutes left.
Straub (five receptions, 152 yards) had given Landon a 7-0 lead at 10: 04 of the first period with his 76-yard scoring reception.