Kai Blagburn's 25-yard field goal on the second try with no time on the clock gave St. John's of Washington a 16-13 victory over host and No. 3 Calvert Hall yesterday in the season opener for both teams.
In a game of turnovers, field position and missed opportunities, the Cadets of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference got the last break and capitalized to give coach Joe Patterson a winning debut.
St. John's prevailed despite losing its starting quarterback, Jay Bluford, in the third quarter to a leg injury and senior linebacker Rico McCoy at the start of the final quarter.
McCoy, whom Patterson said "plays with a lot of emotion," was ejected for a flagrant foul. The Cadets were assessed two unsportsmanlike penalties that cost them 30 yards on that play.
It came down to Blagburn, whose first attempt from 33 yards was blocked by Calvert Hall's Brandon Nickens as time expired. But Blagburn got another shot after a roughing-the-kicker penalty.
"We can't blame the loss on one play," said coach Jay Robinson, in his sixth season at Calvert Hall. "We lost the game on mental mistakes offensively and should have scored more."
A the end of a scoreless first quarter, St. John's started a drive of 93 yards that would span 14 plays. It was culminated by Bluford sneaking over from the 1 just minutes into the second quarter, and Blagburn's kick made it 7-0.
Calvert Hall answered on the ensuing drive, with quarterback Andrew Robinson lofting a 40-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to a wide-open Josh Wagner, but Vince Rampolla's kick missed, and it was 7-6.
In the third quarter, each team turned an interception into a touchdown. St. John's J.J. Johnson picked off a Robinson pass at the Cardinals' 25 that led to Stephon Hampton crashing over from the 3. The conversion run failed, and St. John's led 13-6.
Sophomore quarterback Josh Johnson replaced Bluford with 5:35 left in the third quarter and on his second play was picked off by Calvert Hall's Evan Williams at the Cadets' 32.
Mike Newton ran 12 yards and then 20 more for a score. Rampolla's kick made it 13-13.
St. John's took over on downs at its 47 with 5:54 left to start the game-winning drive. An alley-oop pass from Johnson to Dante Cunningham gave the Cadets a first-and-goal at the Cardinals' 4.
Calvert Hall's defense drove the Cadets back to the 16 to set up the first field-goal attempt.