Umbarger directs No. 4 Spalding past eighth-ranked Calvert Hall


by Nelson Coffin

Schemes, reads and seams.

All three terms applied to a the recipe that Archbishop Spalding’s Jayden Umbarger cooked up in Saturday’s 34-17 triumph over Calvert Hall on Saturday afternoon in Towson.

Junior quarterback Jayden Umbarger rushed for nearly 200 yards in leading Archbishop Spalding to 34-17 over Calvert Hall.

The junior quarterback was practically unstoppable in the first half of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game as the No. 4 Cavaliers built a solid 21-0 advantage and then he iced the victory over the eighth-ranked Cardinals with a 54-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

It was a virtuoso performance, and one that came from all the hard work Umbarger has put into learning the system.

“I had to be really sharp today on all my reads, knowing what I had,” Umbarger said. “Just making the right reads and running when I had to and throwing when I had to.”

“It was only his fifth start,” Spalding coach Kyle Schmitt said. “He played in the slot last year, so he’s had a lot to learn. And he’s getting better each week.”

Calvert Hall had no answers for Umbarger’s first-half explosion that started after a 1-yard punt gave the Cavaliers’ possession at the Cardinals’ 27-yard line.

Umbarger then sliced his way through the Calvert Hall defense on an 18-yard run and finished the quick drive by gouging the Cardinals for 9 more yards and a score with 27 second to go in the opening period to give his team a 7-0 lead after senior kicker Camden Price’s conversion kick.

On Spalding’s next drive, Umbarger connected with junior wideout Brevin Easton on a 13-yard pass play to set up a gimmick play — a pass from the quarterback to Jamari Jones that Jones then tossed 36 yards to fellow senior wideout Larry Brown in the end zone — to give the visitors a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, a key 8-yard sack by senior linebacker Daniel Hood and junior linebackers Adam Barclay and Stephen Cobbs  on a 4th-down pass attempt by Calvert Hall junior signal-caller Mike Campbell gave the Cavs another short field to work with and Umbarger capitalized on the situation.

He ran six times for 40 yards in an 11-play, 50-yard drive, including a 1-yard plunge to put his team ahead, 21-0, with just 26 second remaining in the half.

However, after the Cardinals rallied on touchdown passes of 51 and 29 yards, respectively, from Campbell to junior wideout Cole Herbert to pull within a touchdown, Umbarger was at his best.

With three minutes, thirty seven seconds to go in regulation and Calvert Hall’s defense thirsting for a stop, senior running back Julius Chestnut rumbled 15 yards before Umbarger called his own number on the next four running plays, including the pivotal 54-yarder up the middle.

“Basically, our mentality was, if we get another first down, the game is over,” Umbarger said.

With his speed and skill, though, the Cavs garnered more than a first down.

“We kept running and running and running,” Umbarger said. “Coach put his trust in me and I got it done.”

All told, Umbarger carried 14 times for 108 yards in the second half and finished the contest with close to 200 yards on the ground.

Senior Cody Anderson’s electrifying 82-yard interception return was the final score for the Cavs, coming with under two minutes to go.

Calvert Hall’s last gasp was a 29-yard field goal by senior kicker Brandon Reynolds.

Coupled with last week’s loss to Gilman, the setback dims Calvert Hall’s chances for a playoff berth.

The Cardinals are now 1-3 in conference play and only have No. 2 McDonogh (Oct. 27) left on the schedule before the annual Turkey Bowl against Loyola Blakefield on Thanksgiving.

The Cavaliers (4-2, 2-1 conference), on the other hand, will host top-ranked St. Frances Academy on Friday followed by meetings with Gilman and Mount St. Joseph, giving them ample opportunity to secure a playoff spot.

“They just made some big plays when they needed them,” Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis said. “I have to give a lot of credit to Coach Schmitt and his staff for their resiliency. They were in the same position (with a big lead) earlier in the year, and it didn’t work out so well for them. So all the credit goes to them.”

NO. 4 ARCHBISHOP SPALDING  34, NO. 8 CALVERT HALL 17

AS    7 14 0 13 — 34

CHC 0 0 7 10 — 17

1STQ

AS-Jayden Umbarger 9 run (Camden Price kick)

AS-Larry Brown 36 pass from Jamari Jones (Brandon Reynolds kick)

AS-Jayden Umbarger 9 run (Camden Price kick)

2NDQ

AS-Larry Brown 36 pass from Jamari Jones (Brandon Reynolds kick)

AS-Jayden Umbarger 9 run (Camden Price kick)

3RDQ

CH-Cole Herbert 51 pass from Mike Campbell (Brandon Reynolds kick)

4THQ

CH-Cole Herbert 29 pass from Mike Campbell (Brandon Reynolds kick)

AS-Jayden Umbarger 54 run (kick failed)

AS-Cody Anderson 82 interception return (Camden Price kick)