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99th Turkey Bowl preview: Loyola Blakefield (6-3) vs. No. 2 Calvert Hall (11-1)

For The Baltimore Sun

When: 10 a.m. Thursday

Where: Towson University

Series: Loyola leads 49-41-8

Players to watch: Loyola: QB Jeffrey Snider (310 yards passing, 5 TDs, 3 Ints); RB Adrian Russell (501 yards rushing, 98 receiving, 9 TDs); WR Jordan Moore (388 yards rushing, 134 receiving, 6 TDs); WR Ben Schleiff (290 yards receiving, 2 TDs); LB Emidio Bucci (73 tackles, 1.5 sacks); LB Thomas Keirn (69 tackles); LB Joshua Buck (66 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 fumbles recovered). Calvert Hall: QB Amir Jenkins (426 yards passing, 7 TDS, 4 Ints); RB Sean Tucker (1,317 yards rushing, 13 TDs); RB Cobie Floyd (442 yards rushing, 7 TDs); WR Cole Herbert (354 yards receiving, 7 TDs); DE Nick Lenon (21 tackles for loss, 14 sacks); LB Mike Johnson (45 tackles, 5 sacks); DT Billy Wooden (67 tackles, 9 sacks); DB Mike Neal (51 tackles, 5 Ints).

Outlook: Calvert Hall has won four straight and eight of nine over Loyola, and once again will be the favorite with a powerful run-oriented offense and one of the area’s stingiest defenses. Tucker, a junior, rushed for 258 yards in Saturday’s 35-21 win over No. 3 Archbishop Spalding in the finals of the inaugural Maryland Christian Schools Invitational. A defense led by sack artists Lenon, Wooden and Johnson has held opponents to an average of 11 points per game. Sophomore Jenkins continues to run the offense after taking over for Mike Campbell in mid-September, when the incumbent QB tore ligaments in his left knee. The Dons counter with an opportunistic offense that mixes the run and pass effectively under Snider, who returned to the lineup last week in a 41-0 win over Capital Christian after missing seven games with an injury. His return has allowed backup QB Jordan Moore to return to his more natural role of receiver on a team that is experienced up front, but otherwise very young at the skill positions. A quick start will be crucial for Loyola, which played an independent schedule — including four MIAA B Conference opponents — after withdrawing from the A Conference prior to this season. The Dons must be patient on offense and avoid turnovers, which have plagued them at times. The only common opponent of the two teams was Mount St. Joseph, which defeated both.

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