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Pallotti football powered by stout defense in 32-15 victory over Calvert Hall

St. Vincent Pallotti had never beaten a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference football team — until Friday night.

The Panthers handily defeated Calvert Hall, 32-15, in a matchup that was swiftly created after the Cardinals' game against Mount Saint Joseph was postponed because of COVID-19 issues.

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It all started with a monster night from Christopher Boti, who had two sacks and three tackles for a loss. The Buffalo commit impacted the game as a run stopper and set the tone for the rest of the defensive line.

“We’re one of the best defensive lines in Maryland — in the DMV,” Boti said. “So, we just have something to prove and we showed that.”

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One of the biggest plays of the game came in the third quarter with Pallotti cornerback Cameron Prescott picking off Calvert Hall quarterback Noah Brannock. While the offense didn’t generate a score off of the turnover, it gave the secondary more confidence.

At the end of the next Calvert Hall series, Pallotti junior safety Marquise Allsup returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown to give the Panthers a 12-7 lead in the third quarter. It would be the beginning of their march towards victory. Pallotti finished with two interceptions, including a pick-six by sophomore corner Dante Lovett with 1:10 remaining.

“I feel like we have every guy and we can do everything, especially with the defensive backs, there’s no way that a team can out-pass us," Allsup said. “None of that. We just had the energy. We worked on that in practice and we knew what we were going to do, we studied our film over and over and we locked in.”

The start of the game featured consecutive turnovers on downs. Then Brannock threaded the needle between the Pallotti defense to hit Daniel Owens, who was tackled at the 7-yard line. At the beginning of the second quarter, Calvert Hall punched the ball in for a touchdown on an 8-yard run by Daniel Harper Jr. to take a 7-0 lead.

Pallotti immediately came back with quarterback Kenneth Prince marching down the field on scrambles. He made a dazzling 23-yard touchdown run with several spins and jukes to get past the defense, and Pallotti ended the half trailing 7-6.

After an interception and Allsup’s punt return put Pallotti up 12-7, the Panthers put on more pressure with a forced fumble recovered by senior linebacker Connor Maloney. It led to a 25-yard touchdown pass by Prince to William Webster-Brown with 2:11 left in the third quarter.

Pallotti continued to pound the rock with a 1-yard touchdown rush by Clayton Bullock-Thomas. Calvert Hall answered with a 21-yard touchdown reception by senior Tre Jordan and Rakeem Smith punched it in for the Cardinals to cut the deficit to 25-15. Lovett answered with his 60-yard interception return for a touchdown to give Pallotti the 32-15 win.

“Once we got through the first quarter and we saw what we were made of and what they were made of, we realized that we can play with this team,” Pallotti coach Anthony Ashley said. “All of our preparation came to fruition. They lined up the way we thought that they would line up against various formations. We had a good study week and a good week of practice.”

Calvert Hall coach Josh Ward understands that his team is young. While the Cardinals have lost their first two games, he was impressed with the fortitude that Jordan, his senior wide receiver/defensive back, played with.

“Tre’s a dynamic athlete,” Ward said. “He’s one of the top players in the state — under recruited, offensively, defensively and special teams, he’s a difference-maker. We love him.”

Pallotti will take on Mount Saint Joseph next Saturday in the Gaels' season opener. Calvert Hall will take on Archbishop Spalding for the second time in two weeks Friday.

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