McDonogh running back Alex Hurdle wasn't supposed to have days like these, but with regular starter Syl Brown sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Eagles turned to Hurdle — and the senior responded in a big way.
Hurdle ran for a career-high 227 yards on 31 carries and No. 6 McDonogh breezed to a 34-10 victory over No. 14 Mount St. Joseph Saturday afternoon in Irvington in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference opener for both schools.
"Hurdle last year during our workouts said to me, 'I will challenge anybody on this team to a 40-yard dash,'" McDonogh coach Dom Damico explained. "I was like, 'OK.' So I put him against my four fastest guys and he beat them. He is real strong, too. If you're looking at him in the weight room, he has a real strong lower body."
McDonogh's offensive line of Wyatt Cook, Jared Cohen, Chase Kirol, Ryan Ford and Ellis McKennie dominated the Gaels (1-3). The Eagles opened enough holes to rush for 290 yards.
McDonogh also got a standout performance from sophomore quarterback Jansen Durham, who completed 12 of 14 passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns.
Hurdle figured prominently in McDonogh's first touchdown drive, gaining 60 yards on eight carries to help set up Durham's 10-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Woods with 5:53 remaining in the first quarter.
The Eagles went ahead 10-0 in the middle of the second quarter on Ross Supovitz's 22-yard field, which capped an 11-play, 64-yard drive.
McDonogh's second touchdown came on a 10-play, 47-yard drive that ended with Durham hitting wide receiver Michael Cornwell in the back of the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown.
Mount St. Joseph (1-3) couldn't take advantage of two first-half turnovers — Nevone McCrimmon picked off a pass and Kyle Costabile recovered a fumble — because of McDonogh's dominating defense led by linebackers Cook and Connor Young.
The Gaels managed only two yards of offense, two first downs and James Nelson's 32-yard field goal.
In the fourth quarter, McDonogh junior running back Justin Hawkins helped put the game out of reach, scoring on runs of one and three yards.
"I think we have one of the best defenses in the state," said Damico, whose team improved to 6-0 for the first time since 1999. "This [Mount St. Joseph] team has been scoring 50 points a week for three straight weeks."
McDonogh 34 Mount St. Joseph 10
M 7 10 3 14 -- 34
MSJ 0 3 0 7 -- 10
M — Woods 10 pass from Durham (Supovitz kick)
M — Supovitz 22 field goal
M — Cornell 27 pass from Durham (Supovitz kick)
MSJ — Nelson 32 field goal
M — Supovitz 42 field goal
M — Hawkins 1 run (Supovitz kick)
M — Hawkins 3 run (Supovitz kick)
MSJ — Heckstall 9 pass from Busick