Tired of losing, McDonogh's Brennan Kelly decided to do something about it yesterday against Calvert Hall.
Up 12-7 late in the third quarter, Kelly's Eagles had still not pulled away from the Cardinals.
But successive fourth-quarter interceptions by Kelly, Brandon Giles and Jake Slater foiled the comeback, securing the 12-7 win for the No. 5 Eagles.
Slater's interception at McDonogh's 4-yard line let the Eagles run out the final 44.4 seconds of a critical Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference win at McDonogh.
"We lost to Penn Charter in OT, Loyola by a field goal," said Kelly, a senior linebacker. "It's our turn to win one of these [games]."
In a game featuring stingy defenses, the Eagles (2-2, 1-1) had a first-and-goal at the Cardinals 4-yard line midway through the first quarter. They succumbed to a goal-line stand that included Dane Robinson's sack on second down. On fourth down, Nick Carr and Alex Maszarose combined to stop the Eagles' Bryn Holmes at the 1-yard line.
Calvert Hall (2-4, 0-1) nearly executed a second goal-line stand. But on fourth-and-one, Holmes ran to the right and plowed past two defenders into the end zone for a 6-0 lead 11:53 before halftime.
"[The Cardinals] were strong up front, but our line worked hard," said Holmes, who combined with Travon Hill-Chadwick for 154 yards. "I was determined to score."
Seconds before halftime, however, Cardinals defensive back David Harig stopped a third McDonogh drive with his first of two leaping interceptions in the end zone. Each pass had been intended for University of Maryland-bound Darrius Heyward-Bey.
But the Eagles regained the momentum, covering 72 yards in nine plays for a 12-0 lead with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Tim Brandau's 12-yard run landed McDonogh on Calvert Hall's 10-yard line, and two plays later, the quarterback's third completion of the drive found Anthony Lott for an 11-yard score.
Calvert Hall's offense, meanwhile, was thwarted by linemen Heyward-Bey, Kelley Cox, Tom Cooper and and Alex Sterling.
"Their running back [Mike Newton] has speed," said Cox, who had a sack. "But we contained him and had a solid pass rush going."
But Newton, who had earlier blocked both an extra point and a punt, sparked his team with another defensive gem.
Tim Taylor scooped Newton's second blocked punt and raced 20 yards for a touchdown. Vince Rampolla's extra point made it 12-7 with 1:49 left in the third quarter, but the Eagles held on.
"Our offense didn't do enough," Newton said. "Their defense was stronger than we thought."