Calvert Hall and Archbishop Spalding didn’t have to go out of conference, or even out of state, to face some tough competition this week.
In a matchup of two of the top teams in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and the state, Calvert Hall put together a go-ahead, 16-play drive that spanned the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth that ate up more than six minutes and added an insurance score three minutes later and defeated Archbishop Spalding, 21-7, on Friday.
Calvert Hall, which owns a victory over Henry A. Wise earlier this year that ended the Puma’s 43-game winning streak, improved to 7-1 overall and 2-1 in the A Conference. The Cavaliers fell to 3-2-1 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
“Coach Schmitt and his staff are outstanding and his kids play hard. I knew it was going to go all the way down to the end,” Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis said. “It was a team win. Our offense, our defense and our special teams—everybody made plays when they had to.”
Spading’s only score came on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Austin Tutas to Zakee Wheatley that tied the game in the third quarter.
“They had a really good plan,” Spalding coach Kyle Schmitt said. “Right now we’re an enigma on offense and we need to find some consistency quick.”
Spalding entered the game ranked No. 5 in the state, while Calvert Hall was No. 7.
With the game tied at 7 with 4:19 left in the third quarter, the Cardinals took over at their own 32-yard line. They moved 68 yards on 16 plays and took the lead when Cole Herbert used a second effort to get in from the 1 on fourth down. Herbert kept the drive alive when he caught a pass in the flat and picked up six yards on fourth down from the Spalding 40 just eight plays into the drive.
Herbert finished with six catches for 70 yards and three carries for 17 yards and the go-ahead score for the Cardinals.
“Anybody in the country who doesn’t believe that guy is a major college football player is fooling themselves,” Davis said. “He’s a big-time football player. To have him on our side makes me a better coach.”
On Spalding’s next possession, Jaden Beckles intercepted a pass and Sean Tucker scored from 14 yards out on Calvert Hall’s fifth play to make it a two-score game with seven minutes left.
For a pair of teams used to scoring a lot of points, the first half was unlike most of their other games so far this season. Tucker was responsible for the only points of the half when he scored on a 1-yard run late in the first quarter to cap off a 10-play, 50-yard drive.
Tucker, who had 89 yards rushing in the first half, carried the ball three straight times for 43 yards on the Cardinals’ first drive, which stalled deep in Spalding territory. He left the game briefly in the second half with an injury, but later returned and finished with 109 yards on 16 carries and the two scores.
The Cavaliers moved to midfield on their first drive before being forced to punt. After their second drive also resulted in a punt, they put together their best drive of the half when they held the ball for six minutes and moved 57 yards before turning the ball over on downs at the Calvert Hall 17.
There wasn’t much more to speak of offensively in the first half for the Cardinals, who punted twice and turned the ball over on downs on their other drives. After an interception from Mike Neal gave the Cardinals the ball at the Spalding 35 with 30 seconds left in the half, they moved just eight yards in three plays and threw an incomplete pass as time expired in the half.
Tutas finished 16 for 24 for 155 yards, while Chris Clark had 11 catches for 98 yards and Wheatley caught four passes for 65 yards and the touchdown for the Cavaliers.
Calvert Hall (7-1) 7 0 0 14 — 21
Spalding (3-2-1) 0 0 7 0 — 7
CH — Tucker 1 run (Moore kick)
AS — Wheatley 18 pass from Tutas (Velez Marrero kick)
CH — Herbert 1 run (Moore kick)
CH — Tucker 14 run (Moore kick)