Advertisement

St. Paul's football puts Boys' Latin's playoff hopes in doubt with 34-14 rivalry game win

St. Paul’s ended a three-year Boys’ Latin run with an upset in the Alumni Cup Challenge rivalry game Friday night that left the Lakers in playoff limbo.

Crusaders quarterback Leo Kelly factored on four touchdowns and was 20-for-33 passing for 283 yards, with one interception late in the game, to lead St. Paul’s to a 34-14 victory at Stevenson University.

Advertisement

Boys’ Latin needed a win to seal a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference playoff berth, but now the Lakers have to hope Severn beats St. Mary’s on Saturday, which would put the Lakers and the Admirals in next week’s title game. A St. Mary’s win over Severn would leave the Lakers (5-5, 4-2 MIAA) out in a tiebreaker.

By Friday night’s 64th rivalry game against the the Lakers, the Crusaders (4-4, 3-3) had been eliminated from playoff contention, but they finish their season with major bragging rights.

Kelly said it was one of the best games of his career.

“It feels great, especially for the seniors after having a couple tough seasons just being able to win it and hopefully win it again next year,” Kelly said.

The junior hit nine different receivers throughout the game with senior Peter French catching seven passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns, and junior Princeton Douglass catching four passes for 69 yards.

First-year coach Scott Ripley, who had previously been a St. Paul’s assistant coach, said, “We just convinced the kids this week that we needed to come together. We were 3-5. We knew that this is our rival game and if we would win this game, everything would be all right. … There were so many kids that were great today and with 18 seniors, what can we say?”

The Crusaders never trailed and made their move in the third quarter with 20 unanswered points thanks in part to a pair of interceptions. Kelly scored on a 9-yard touchdown run to break the 14-14 halftime deadlock, giving St. Paul’s a 21-14 lead with 8:20 left.

On Boys’ Latin’s first play of the next drive, Ryan Rogan picked off Brenden Crouse’s pass and 14 plays later, Kelly hit Everette McDuffie with an 8-yard touchdown pass to run the lead to 27-14.

The Lakers managed three plays on their next drive before Quizzon Tarver picked off Crouse. Douglass needed just one play to reach the end zone, dodging a couple of defenders and heading across the field to race down the left sideline for a 69-yard touchdown run and a 34-14 Crusaders lead.

“A couple interceptions and they played better than us,” Lakers coach Ritchie Schell said of the decisive quarter. “We dropped a first-down pass that could have kept a drive going and we couldn’t sustain any drives. They were on the field pretty much the whole time and they’ve got a good team. They outplayed us.”

The Crusaders won the turnover battle by a considerable margin as the Lakers gave the ball away five times and St. Paul’s didn’t turn the ball over until Kelly threw an interception in the final five minutes of the game. Carlos Davis picked off the pass and raced 89 yards to the end zone, but a penalty wiped out the touchdown.

Rogan had two interceptions for St. Paul’s and McDuffie and Chris Cabral had one each.

The rivalry between the two private schools began in 1933, but it was interrupted for 22 years when St. Paul’s moved to the A Conference in 1940 and Boys’ Latin switched to six-man football in 1942. They resumed the rivalry in 1961. St. Paul’s won 33 of the first 47 meetings, but since Schell took over the Lakers’ program in 2001, Boys’ Latin has won 10 times.

With this year’s win, however, St. Paul’s extended its lead in the series to 41-22-1.

Advertisement

The Crusaders struck first with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to French for a 7-0 lead with 2:26 left in the first half. The Lakers tied it a minute into the second quarter on Crouse’s 26-yard connection with James Rice.

Late in the half, the Crusaders pulled ahead again when Kelly, who was 13-for-20 for 185 yards in the first half, connected again with French for a 37-yard score with 1:38 to go. That lead didn’t last long either — just 12 seconds. The Lakers’ Jyair Thomas snagged the next kickoff and raced 86 yards for the tying touchdown for the 14-14 tie.

BL 0 14 0 0 — 14

SP 7 7 20 0 — 34

SP—French 13 pass from Kelly (Ramos kick)

BL—Rice 26 pass from Crouse (Grace kick)

SP—French 37 pass from Kelly (Ramos kick)

BL—Thomas 86 kick ret. (Grace kick)

SP—Kelly 9 run (Ramos kick)

SP—McDuffie 8 pass from Kelly (kick failed)

SP—Douglas 69 run (Ramos kick)

Advertisement
Advertisement