Mount Saint Joseph junior Bryce Cox knows what to expect when two good football teams play. He knew beating rival and fourth-ranked Calvert Hall would take a tough, physical game, and he wasn’t disappointed.
Cox and his No. 3 Gaels used an impressive second quarter and an opportunistic offense to beat their rival, 24-14, in a game that was not as close as the final score might indicate.
Cox rushed for 118 yards on 16 carries, and receiver Ronald Goodridge chipped in 111 receiving yards and a touchdown on three catches to lead Mount Saint Joseph (6-2, 4-0).
“They’re a great team, and we knew we had to bring it all game if we were going to beat them,” Cox said. “That’s a testament to our coaching staff and the way they prepared us and we practiced this week. Games are decided on six plays or less, and we took advantage of a few mistakes when we got them.”
The Gaels started with a Calvert Hall (6-2, 2-2) fumble and good field position. After taking over at the Cardinals’ 45-yard line, Cox broke off a 34-yard run to take the ball to the Cardinals’ 11. Two plays later, Cox took the ball in from the 2-yard line to give Mount Saint Joseph a 6-0 lead after a missed extra-point attempt with 1:02 left in the quarter.
After stopping Calvert Hall on downs on its next drive, Mount Saint Joseph took over on its own 39. On the first play, Gaels quarterback Winston Watkins found Goodridge for a 46-yard gain, taking the ball to the Calvert Hall 15. Two plays later, Sean Williams scored from 6 yards out with 8:21 left in the half to increase the lead to 14-0 after a successful 2-point conversion pass.
After the kickoff, Calvert Hall quarterback Noah Brannock threw an interception to Mount Saint Joseph’s Charles Wilson, giving the Gaels the ball at the Cardinal’s 27. The Gaels made them pay, scoring three plays later on a 7-yard pass from Watkins to Goodridge to take a 21-0 lead with 6:47 left in the half.
The Gaels opened the second half with an eight play, 64-yard drive that led to a 27-yard field goal by Peter Lipscombe.
Calvert Hall added two fourth-quarter touchdowns from Brannock to Rahkeem Smith, one for 9 yards and another for 45 yards, to close out the scoring.
“I’d like to finish a little stronger,” Mount Saint Joseph coach Dom Damico said. “It was great to get the lead early, and to hold it. We made some great plays, and it was a great team effort.”
The win puts the Gaels in second place in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, behind only No. 2 Archbishop Spalding (9-0). Both schools have a 4-0 record in the conference. The Cavaliers will host the Gaels on Nov. 5.
“They have a high octane, well-balanced offense, and they’re hitting on all cylinders right now,” Damico said of Spalding. “We’ll have to bring our ‘A’ game if we want to do well against them.”
Goodridge thinks the Gaels are starting to come together as a team at just the right time.
“We lost a game we should have won to Good Counsel, and it made us come together as a team,” Goodridge said. “I think we can only get better.”
MSJ 24, Calvert Hall 14
CH 0-0-0-14 – 14
MSJ 6-15-3-0 – 24
MSJ – Cox 2 run (kick failed)
MSJ – Williams 6 run (Kibby pass from Watkins)
MSJ – Goodridge 16 pass from Watkins (Lipscombe kick)
MSJ – Lipscombe 27 FG
CH – Smith 9 pass from Brannock (kick failed)
CH – Smith 45 pass from Brannock (Harper run)