Johns Hopkins’ skill at turning turnovers into points evaporated Saturday.
The No. 8 Blue Jays forced No. 11 Wesley into four turnovers in a NCAA Division III second-round playoff game at Homewood Field in Baltimore, but could only convert those chances into seven points en route to a 42-37 loss.
“There’s where we would have liked to have done better,” coach Jim Margraff conceded during the team’s postgame conference. “But I was thrilled with the turnovers. They’re certainly a terrific pass offense, and I’m not sure things would have changed. … I was thrilled at first that we were able to keep them out of the end zone, but sometimes it’s a matter of time with some of the playmakers that they have.”
The defense intercepted Wolverines fifth-year senior quarterback Joe Callahan three times in the first quarter. But the first interception led to a three-and-out.
Johns Hopkins (11-1) did turn Callahan’s second interception into a touchdown on junior quarterback Jonathan Germano’s 18-yard strike to junior wide receiver Quinn Donaldson. But the third takeaway yielded nothing when junior kicker Nick Campbell’s 41-yard field-goal attempt strayed wide right.
Callahan, who had been intercepted just seven times all season, chastised himself for making some poor decisions.
“It’s never good to throw interceptions, but when it happens in the first quarter, you still have so much game ahead of you that you can’t sit there and think about it for the next three quarters,” he said. “You’ve got to put it behind you and move on. The team did a great job of picking me up. Luckily, as an offense, we were able to bounce back, and I guess I calmed down a little bit.”
The defense secured its fourth and final turnover when freshman cornerback Michael Curry stripped junior wide receiver Bryce Shade and junior free safety Jack Toner recovered the fumble at the Blue Jays’ 5-yard line. But the ensuing offensive possession ended in the Wolverines stuffing junior running back Stuart Walters on fourth down-and-1 on Wesley’s 13.
“You always want to capitalize on turnovers that the defense creates,” Germano said. “But I mean, that’s team football. We all played together. We never doubted anything. We played all the way until the end, until the final whistle.”