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No. 4 Mount Saint Joseph football dominates No. 6 Loyola Blakefield, 40-0, behind Winston Watkins’ 5 TD passes

With a challenging nonconference slate and a focused week of practice, Mount Saint Joseph football coach Dom Damico was confident his team was well prepared going into Saturday’s league opener against Loyola Blakefield.

The No. 4 Gaels proved him right — in a big way.

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Junior quarterback Winston Watkins threw for 235 yards and five touchdowns, including a pair to senior wide receiver Avery Jones. Junior linebacker Sahir West and tackle Nick Paxton led a strong defensive front. And senior returner Carter Davis made big plays on special teams.

The Gaels were an unkind host to the No. 6 Dons in their return to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference, claiming a convincing 40-0 win in Irvington.

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Mount Saint Joseph improved to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in league play, while Loyola, the B Conference runner-up last year, dropped to 1-3 and 0-1.

“Very happy,” Damico said. “All A Conference games — wins are good. And if you can put a complete game together like that — play offense, defense, special teams — I was really proud of the kids.”

Junior quarterback Winston Watkins threw for 235 yards and five touchdowns and the No. 5 Gaels dominated on defense to secure a 40-0 win over No. 7 Loyola Blakefield on Saturday.

Last week, the Gaels were on the other end of a lopsided score when Montgomery County private school power Good Counsel claimed a 52-13 win. The setback didn’t get the Gaels down, however, with the speed of Good Counsel helping them prepare for conference play.

After a slow start Saturday in which the Gaels went three-and-out on their first two possessions, they soon clicked. A 24-yard punt return from Davis gave them the ball at the Loyola 28, and Watkins found Peyton Youngbar in the right corner of the end zone for a 17-yard connection on fourth-and-12 on the first play of the second quarter.

After Watkins connected with Jones on a quick slant for a 75-yard touchdown to make it 14-0, the Gaels put the game away with two touchdowns in a 16-second stretch in the final minute of the half for a 26-0 lead.

Watkins first hit Trey Goodridge for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 46 seconds left. After Davis recovered the ensuing kick at the Dons’ 22, Jones hauled in a pass from Watkins in the corner of the end zone on the very next play.

In the second half, Bryce Cox became the fourth Gael to catch a touchdown pass from Watkins.

Mount Saint Joseph's Avery Jones outruns the Loyola Blakefield defense for a touchdown Saturday.
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“I just believe my receivers can make plays against any [defensive back] and I really have trust in my receivers,” Watkins said. “When I throw it to them, they’re going to catch it, bring it down every time.”

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Jones finished with four catches for 121 yards.

“When we start making completions, the line is blocking, everybody is doing their job, I feel like we’re unstoppable,” he said, “and if we get that consistency going, we can be the best in the conference.”

Defense and special teams consistently gave the Gaels’ offense good field position. West had two sacks, while Paxton had one sack and an interception, one of four turnovers for the Dons.

After a season-opening win against New Town, Loyola suffered two overtime losses. Coach Anthony Zehyoue saw stretches of good execution, but the Dons made too many untimely miscues Saturday.

“We’ll be better from it,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do at this point, you just keep coaching. It’s a long season and make sure we keep coaching and we keep working. The great thing about high school kids is they usually bounce back fairly quickly and they can recover fairly quickly, so, yeah, that’s what I’m looking forward to seeing them do.”

Both teams return to league play at 4 p.m. Friday with the Gaels visiting Gilman and the Dons hosting McDonogh.

Loyola Blakefield's Kendrick Worthington is pushed out of bounds by Mount Saint Joseph's Torey Moore in the first half Saturday.

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