“I was like ‘O.K., now, with everybody else, we’re right back in it, and we can still win the A Conference championship,” said Walker, whose Eagles were coming off of last week’s one-point, upset loss at Loyola.
“We had wanted to go undefeated, but now that we can’t do that,” said Walker. “So, then, our next goal is to win the A Conference championship, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Walker did his part to keep the Eagles in the running during their 38-21 triumph over the Gaels, finishing with a team-high six receptions for 128 yards and two touchdown catches from junior quarterback Joel Jorgensen (14-for-21, 192 yards), who also ran for a three-yard score.
“The kids practiced hard all week and took this game really seriously. We had four or five guys out with injuries today, but the other kids that came in stepped up today and played hard,” said Eagles’ coach Dom Damico.
“Mount St. Joseph has some explosive athletes. They were always one or two tackles away from breaking something like a long run or a big play,” said Damico. “But the A Conference is tough. Every week, it’s a good game. And you’ve got to play your best.”
In victory, the Eagles rose to 6-1 overall and 1-1 in the league, dropping the Gaels to 3-4 and 1-2, with their fourth straight loss after a 3-0 start.
Calvert Hall, Georgetown Prep and Gilman are all 2-1 in conference play, while the Eagles and Loyola are 1-1, and the Gaels, 0-3.
“I was devasted after last week’s loss. We just came up with stupid penalties and we shot ourselves in the foot,” said Jorgensen, who led the Eagles with 57 rushing yards against the Gaels after passing for 260 yards and two scores in the 35-34 loss to Loyola.
“This week, we were a lot more serious, and on special teams, we stepped up today as you could see,” said Jorgensen. “Our defense stepped up. We focused in practice all week and we came out and we got it done.”
Jorgensen credited an Eagles’ defense led by 6-foot-5, 220-pound junior defensive end Allen Jackson, who made a sack, blocked a punt, disrupted a pass and had a tackle for lost yardage.
Junior Kevin Marvel had a tackle for lost yardage and a pass deflection, sophomore Taysean Scott and junior Daytwyn Rascoe had one interception each, the latter for a 39-yard touchdown. Junior Darian Kelly recovered a fumble, junior Roman Braglio made a tackle for lost yardage, and junior Garrett Breeden broke up a pass play.
The Eagles’ Miles Crump played well on both sides of the ball, with seven receptions for 48 yards, an interception and a pass disruption in the end zone.
“I just worked hard on both sides of the ball. Last week, I thought I had a good offensive game, but on defense, they got me a couple of times on pass plays,” said Crump. “I had to make sure that I excuted on offenses as well as defense. I felt like Loyola was a good loss, because it made us realize that we had to make adjustments on special teams.”
Sophomore quarterback Luke Casey played well, nevertheless, for the Gaels, going 14-for-21 for 241 yards and three touchdowns.
“This week, we had a great week of practice. Everybody did the right thing. Everybody came through today. We pulled it out and we played together as a team,” said Jackson, who, like Braglio, has been offered a full scholarship to the University of Maryland. “I knew I had to come out here to make plays if we wanted to win. I made plays. Other guys made plays, and we came out here and we got the win.”
The Eagles took their opening drive 61 yards over nine plays before Jorgensen found Walker for an 11-yard touchdown, after which junior Evan Glaser booted his first of five extra point kicks for a 7-0 lead at 8:41 of the first quarter.
But the Gaels responded with a surprise, as junior Angelo DeShields (seven receptions, 129 yards) turned Casey’s third-and-nine screen pass into a 76-yard touchdown.
Senior Fletcher Sullivan’s first of three extra point kicks tied the game at 7-7 with 6:36 left in the first quarter.
But the Eagles went on to score 24 unanswered points from there, however, pulling ahead, 31-7, with 8:38 left in the third quarter.
Walker’s 24-yard scoring reception made it 14-7 at 1:08 of the first quarter, and Glaser followed up with a 34-yard field goal, four seconds prior to halftime.
Walker’s effort, on fourth-and-six, ended a 12-play, 66-yard drive during which Jorgensen converted a two-yard run on fourth-and-one at the Gaels’ 31-yard line.
“Every week, I come out to the field trying to do whatever I can to help my team. I felt like I did a good job last week, but it wasn’t good enough because we didn’t get the win,” said Walker. “So I thought that I had to come out this week and to step it up even more. So we were able to get the win, and it was a great team effort.”
Glaser’s overall play made up for a disappointing outting in last week’s Loyola game, when his late, missed extra point, for a 34-28 lead, left an opening for the Dons to march up the field for the toucdown and follow up game-winning extra point kick.
“I think that we were all a little disappointed after the Loyola game, but I felt it a little extra because I felt like I let my team down. So this week, though, we put a lot of emphasis on special teams,” said Glaser.
“We did a great job with the field goal team,” said Glaser. “I think that that field goal was really special because we were driving down and we couldn’t get a touchdown. The team called on me to kick a field goal, and I was happy that I could do that.”
The Eagles picked up where they left off in the second half, as Rascoe returned his pick for a score and a 24-7 lead with 11:41 showing on the clock.
“Coach was telling me at halftime to play the safe ball. To break on the ball when the quarterback goes to pass,” said Rascoe. “As he threw the ball, I just broke on it, and picked it off and my guys were blocking for me.”
Jorgensen went over from three yards for the Eagles’ next score and the 31-7 advantage. The sequence was set up by Kelly’s fumble recovery — at the Gaels’ 16-yard line — of a bad snap on a Mount St. Joseph attempted punt.
Casey-to-junior Samuel Benjamin (four receptions, 62 yards) from 13 yards out had the Gaels back on the scoreboard, however, at 31-14, with 6:33 left in the period.
The drive was sustained after DeShields scooped a blocked punt and ran 17 yards for a first down, and included a 32-yard run by Casey.
“Luke’s got a bright future. He made a couple of bad throws today, but some of it was not his fault. He was hitting receivers right in the chest and they were dropping the ball, and that’s sometimes going to happen,” said first-year Mount St. Joseph coach Blake Henry. “Their kids, and they’re going to make mistakes sometimes. But Luke has got a confidenc
e about him, and I know that he’s definitely got a lot of potential.”
An eight-yard run by Eagles’ junior reserve Colby Everett made it 38-14 with 5:56 left to play, after which Casey found junior Nick Fairley for a nine-yard toucdown strike and the final score, 38-21.
“I thought that some of our guys played really hard and I was really proud of them. We had some chances on offense and defense to make plays, and we didn’t sometimes,” said Henry. “But that was mainly due to the fact that McDonogh played a really good game. But I was really encouraged by some of our players’ efforts.”
Defensively for the Gaels, junior Dwayne Brown had an interception and a pass breakup, senior Jacob Mooney, a sack and a disrupted pass, juniors Josh Dolle and Bryan Royster made tackles for lost yardage, junior Thomas Demetriou registered a sack, and senior Marshall Holmes broke up a pass.
“I didn’t think that they quit, and I thought that we definitely had our chances,” said Henry. “But McDonogh played the game that it needed to today.”
CLICK RELATED VIDEOS TAB AT TOP OF PAGE FOR HIGHLIGHTS AND POST-GAME INTERVIEWS
|No. 12 McDonogh 38, Mount St. Joseph 21|
|McD-Walker 11 pass from Jorgensen (Glaser kick)|
|MSJ-DeShields 76 pass from Casey (Sullivan kick)|
|McD-Walker 24 pass from Jorgensen (Glaser kick)|
|McD-Glaser 24 FG|
|McD-Rascoe 39 interception return|
|McD-Jorgensen 3 run (Glaser kick)|
|MSJ-Benjamin 13 pass from Casey (Sullivan kick)|
|McD-Everett 8 run (Glaser kick)|
|MSJ-Fairley 9 pass from Casey (Glaser kick)|