Mount Saint Joseph, playing its first football game in more than a year, turned aside Pallotti, 22-19, in double overtime in a matchup of defending conference champions.
Scott Martin, who had a kick blocked earlier in overtime, delivered a game-winning 32-yard field goal as his kick bounced off the right upright and over the crossbar. The Gaels, the defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champions, had their first two games of the season postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I just relied on my training,” Martin said. “I’ve been doing this for three years and I was making them from 50 [yards] during halftime. It’s just repeating the ability and not going out there and worrying about anything else.”
He was set up by a strong performance by his defense — especially from defensive back Jabari Echols, who had two interceptions and a pass deflection against the defending MIAA B champions.
“We studied hard, made some alignments and jumped throws,” Echols said.
Mount Saint Joseph defensive back Terry Hardy blocked a punt to set up the Gaels’ first score, but a penalty pushed the Gaels back to their own 43-yard line. Quarterback Billy Atkins immediately threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Tyler Wilkins. Martin’s extra point attempt was no good, giving Mount Saint Joseph a 6-0 lead with 3:04 left in the first quarter.
When the Gaels got the ball back in the second quarter, a 69-yard pass from Atkins to Wilkins helped set up shop at the Pallotti 20-yard line. Atkins hit Ausar Crawley on a 20-yard touchdown pass with 6:51 left in the quarter to give them a 12-0 lead. After getting the ball back, Mount Saint Joseph capitalized with Atkins’ third touchdown pass on a 28-yard strike to Crawley to put them up 19-0 at the half.
The Panthers rallied in the second half, scoring on a botched snap and fumble recovery in the end zone by linebacker Connor Maloney. Pallotti quarterback Kenneth Prince threw a 40-yard pass to William Webster-Brown and Prince rushed the ball in from 20 yards for 19-13 deficit in the third quarter. Prince evened the score with a 1-yard touchdown plunge to make it 19-19 going into overtime.
Mount Saint Joseph received the ball first. They couldn’t put the ball into the end zone and Martin’s field goal attempt was tipped. The Gaels stuffed Pallotti to force a second overtime.
In the second overtime, Mount Saint Joseph defensive back Charles Wilson came up an interception.
“I was excited. I got in the game when my teammate got hurt,” Wilson said. “I did my job. That’s it. They have some pretty good receivers and I trust in my defense and we’re going to making plays.”
It was coach Dom Damico’s first victory leading Mount Saint Joseph.
“I thought we started off strong — we went up three touchdowns,” Damico said. “Pallotti is game-tested — they had a tough game against Calvert Hall. So, they have some game experience. This is our first game and it’s strange that it’s late-November and it’s your first football game. We’re not in game shape, but our kids hung in there and played hard during the two overtime periods.”
Pallotti knocked off Concordia and then Calvert Hall. They came close to putting another victory in their pocket against Mount Saint Joseph. Pallotti coach Tony Ashley had a lot to be thankful for with his team’s performance.
“I just wanted my defense on the field first to see what they had and we had a shot,” Ashley said. “They [Mount Saint Joseph] just played a heck of a stand in the last two plays. We didn’t get the call — we didn’t get it in, but I’m proud of my boys. That’s the A champion from last year. It stings, but I was thinking that we could win this thing. Two upsets in a row.”
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