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St. Mary’s football rallies to beat No. 6 Loyola Blakefield, 36-30, in overtime after controversial end to regulation

The St. Mary’s football team made it to overtime against host Loyola Blakefield with a controversial call in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter Saturday.

Once overtime arrived, the Saints left no doubt.

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After the St. Mary’s defense stopped the No. 6 Dons short of the goal line, the offense needed just two plays to close out an improbable 36-30 win.

On first-and-goal at the 10-yard line, running back Wyatt Cotton picked up 5 yards. Quarterback Carson Petitbon took care of the rest, rolling to his left and cruising into the end zone from 5 yards to give St. Mary’s a comeback win.

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A clutch 32-yard field goal by Saints kicker Andrew Marshall on the final play of regulation forced overtime, but there was some doubt whether any time remained before the snap.

St. Mary’s improved to 3-0, earning a confidence-boosting win over a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference foe before getting ready to open its MIAA B Conference slate next week. Loyola Blakefield (1-2) fell in overtime for the second straight game.

“Loyola is an A Conference team, they’re a tough team, so we knew it was going to be a battle and we just hung in there. I can’t say enough how proud I am of my kids, they just keep fighting,” St. Mary’s coach Jason Budroni said.  “We could have given up a couple of times, especially in the first half. Nothing went our way and we were giving them points. But they stood up when they needed to and got it done.”

Forcing overtime wasn’t easy and didn’t happen until a prolonged discussion by the referees. After the Dons regained a 30-27 lead with 1:19 to play in the fourth quarter, the Saints marched 44 yards to Loyola’s 15.  On second-and-10 at the 50, Petitbon connected with Cotton on a 35-yard reception to put the ball on the Dons’ 15 with three seconds left.

On the next play, Petitbon took the shotgun snap, scanned the field and tried to pump fake, but the ball slipped out of his hand. He picked it up off the ground and threw a touchdown pass, but the referees ruled his arm was moving forward in a throwing motion on his initial attempt before he lost control of the ball. After a discussion among the officials, it was ruled an incomplete pass and enough time remained for one more play. Marshall then kicked the game-tying field goal to send the game into overtime.

“My opinion is Carson dropped it, he picked it up and threw a touchdown pass, but they called no touchdown,” Budroni said. “But because they called an incomplete pass, there had to be time left on the clock.”

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In the end, the Saints made more big plays to earn the win, coming back from two nine-point deficits along the way.  Petitbon ran for three touchdowns — including a 29-yard score on fourth-and-9 with 16 seconds left in the second quarter — and threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Cotton. Shane Toal added a 97-yard kick return for a score on the final play of the third quarter to cut the Dons’ lead to 23-20.

“Coach Budroni tells us each week ‘Have faith, Saints Pride,’ play that style of football and, at the end of the day, it’s the team that wants to win who is going to win,” Petitbon said.  “And I think at the end of the game, we weren’t going to take a loss. We weren’t going to leave Baltimore with a loss and we just fought and continued to play. No one got down and we came out with a win, so it was really special.”

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After surrendering the lead for the first time in the fourth quarter on Petitbon’s 19-yard touchdown run, the Dons were stopped on their next possession but were able to get the ball back with 3:19 to play. An eight-play, 71-yard drive, including a 31-yard pass by Marcus Hines to Ezra Carter, ended with Kendrick Worthington dragging defenders into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown to give Loyola a 30-27 lead with 1:19 left. 

It turned out the Saints had just enough time to force overtime.

“I have nothing to say about the ending of [the fourth quarter],” Loyola coach Anthony Zehyoue said.  “The reality is we had plenty of opportunities to win the game and I told our team, ‘In life, nobody is going to give us anything.’ I think it’s easy to leave here and say we got robbed, but we gave up a kick return for a touchdown, we gave up a touchdown right before halftime. That’s 14 points that should not have happened, and maybe we’re not in that position at the end. That’s my view on it.”

For a second straight game, the Dons lost a tough one in extra time. Last week, they lost to Georgetown Prep, 22-21, in two overtimes with a roughing-the-kicker penalty on a missed field-goal attempt giving the Hoyas a second chance. They opted to go for two and converted for the win.

Both teams open league play next week. In B Conference play, the Saints will try to keep rolling against visiting John Carroll at 7 p.m. Friday. The Dons open A Conference play at Mount Saint Joseph at 1 p.m. Saturday.


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