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Calvert Hall had revenge on its mind heading into Friday’s home game with Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rival Mount St. Joseph. Last year, the Gaels were the lone team to beat the Cardinals, and Calvert Hall wanted to even the score.

No. 3 Mount Saint Joseph stopped that from happening, though, as quarterback Billy Atkins directed a few key lengthy scoring drives, threw three touchdown passes — two to Donte Thornton Jr. — and the Gaels defeated host and No. 2 Calvert Hall, 20-10.

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This was the first conference game for both teams, and each moved the ball at times, but had trouble coming up with big plays.

“Our defense has been pretty solid all year," Mount Saint Joseph coach Rich Holzer said. "We really had to focus on (their) running game. The kids came to play.”

Mount Saint Joseph (4-1) did a good job of running the ball up the middle and having Atkins find open receivers on the sideline. The Gaels were able to sustain a few good drives, and that proved to be the difference.

“We realized that we had chances to run the ball,” Atkins said. “Also, I took shots downfield to my big receivers.”

Mount Saint Joseph effectively slowed the Calvert Hall running attack, especially between the tackles and, by clogging the middle, the Gaels made life tough for the Cardinals on offense.

That strong running defense forced the Cardinals to pass more, and they struggled with that. Coach Donald Davis even brought in freshman quarterback Noah Brannock in the fourth quarter in place of starter Amir Jenkins to spark the air game, but Calvert Hall (4-1) couldn’t do enough.

Jenkins came back later in the fourth quarter but Calvert Hall still struggled on offense. The Cardinals didn’t score a point in the second half, and that helped Mount Saint Joseph rally and take command.

The Cardinals scored on their first drive when Peter Moore kicked a 24-yard field goal and they then got deep into Gaels’ territory on their second possession. But a fumble at the Mount Saint Joseph 7-yard line on fourth down ended that threat.

It also proved costly later on because instead of 14 early points, Calvert Hall came away with just three.

The Gaels bounced right back after the Moore field goal, drove 87 yards and took the lead when Atkins threw a short pass that Ausar Crawley turned into a 14-yard touchdown on the left side. That came in the last minute of the first quarter for a 7-3 lead.

Calvert Hall bounced right back and scored when Sean Tucker ran for a 6-yard touchdown with 7:57 left in the first half. But the Gaels came back once more when Atkins threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Thornton in the middle of the end zone with 1:39 remaining.

The Cardinals then blocked the Atkins extra-point kick, leaving the Gaels’ lead at 13-10. Calvert Hall tried to drive but ran out of time, and Mount Saint Joseph held that three-point lead at the break.

Atkins then guided the Gaels on another long scoring drive. They started at their 6-yard line and, after penalties on both teams, Mount Saint Joseph slowly moved downfield, ending the drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Atkins to Thornton with 3:07 left in the third quarter

Atkins kicked the extra point this time for a 20-10 lead. That proved to be enough for Mount Saint Joseph to frustrate Calvert Hall for the second straight season.

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M 7 6 7 0- 20

C 3 7 0 0- 10

C-- Moore 24 FG

M- Crawley 14 pass from Atkins (Atkins kick)

C- Tucker 6 run (O'Neill kick)

M- Thornton 5 pass from Atkins (kick blocked)

M- Thornton 12 pass from Atkins (Atkins kick)

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