Calvert Hall College’s football team ended the 2009 season on a high note, ending years of frustration against arch-rival Loyola Blakefield. Saturday afternoon, the Cardinals started 2010 by exorcising some more demons, defeating St. John’s (D.C.) College, 24-7, at Russo Stadium.

The Cardinals cobbled 17 points over the final five minutes of the opening half then held St. John’s scoreless in the second half, ending a six-game losing streak to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference program.

While the Cardinal players and followers relished the end of the streak, Cardinals coach Donald Davis said he was just happy with winning the first game.

“I think it’s huge for the kids to get that first opportunity to beat St. John’s. It’s huge for their confidence, for our momentum, it’s one of our goals,” said Davis. “It’s great to win the first game of the season.”

“I want us to be the best team we can possibly be,” said Cardinal senior defensive back Adrian Amos. “We have the potential to be one of the best Calvert Hall teams, and this game was key.”

Around this time a year ago, Calvert Hall was licking its wounds from a season-opening loss to the Cadets in northwest D.C. The Cardinals were in an 0-2 hole after blowing a late lead and falling to Archbishop Spalding.

The Towson school reversed gears, going 8-2, including victories over eventual MIAA A Conference champ Gilman and then-defending A champ Loyola in the Turkey Bowl at M&T Bank Stadium. The Turkey Bowl triumph was the Cardinals’ first in the last seven meetings, and fifth in the last 25.

With a talented mix of holdovers along with several transfers, most local high school followers believe The Hall will be a force this season. When asked several weeks ago whether his team should be highly ranked, Davis responded, “How can we be ranked high; we haven’t beaten St. John’s in years.” That’s no longer true.

The Cadets had Calvert Hall reeling immediately as Wright went 82 yards on the visitors’ first play from scrimmage, but missed a 31-yard field goal attempt. On its next drive, St. John’s went 83 yards in nine plays, capped by Monroe’s 10-yard run down the left side.

Calvert Hall responded when Stuart found Trevor Williams across the middle for a 20-yard touchdown. The Cardinals said the nine-play, 60-yard drive changed momentum.

“We had our backs against the wall,” said Stuart, a transfer from Good Counsel, who completed four of 13 for 83 yards. “Trevor came open, I hit him and he got in. It was big time.”

“You got to answer, and that’s maybe the difference between this team and some of the other ones,” said Davis. “It showed character to respond. You get beat; you know what, bounce back. Make something happen and don’t lose your composure.”

After junior linebacker Trevon Barnes recovered a Wright fumble, Stuart moved right out of the pocket and threw to the middle where CJ Williams brought it in and weaved his way to the end zone, giving Calvert Hall the lead for good with 3 minutes, 15 seconds left in the first half. 

danny wright and thomas hollenbackAmos thwarted St. John’s ensuing drive with a 45-yard interception return, leading a 32-yard field goal by Sam Hayes to end the first half. The Cardinals’ defense was stout over the final 24 minutes, allowing 73 yards after St. John’s rolled up 232 in the opening half.

Brandon Neverdon closed the offensive scoring for Calvert Hall with a 23-yard jaunt late in the third quarter.

Amos, who’s holding scholarship offers from UCONN, West Virginia and Temple, said the opening drive sparked the Cardinals.

“We didn’t give up on each other,” said Amos. “They broke a long run [Wright’s 82-yard run], and we made a stop on the goal line. It set the tone for the rest of the game.”

“We certainly had opportunities, we made too many first game mistakes and we didn’t get any turnovers,” said St. John’s coach Joe Patterson. “They [Calvert Hall] finished so strong last year. They got a lot of speed and return key players in key positions. I expect a lot from them this season.”

As do most around Calvert Hall’s LaSalle Road campus.

“I don’t know how good this team can be, that’s the beauty of it,” said Davis. “We played well, we played hard, but we can be better. If anything, that’s a good sign.”

Calvert Hall 24, St. John’s (DC) 7
St. John’s (DC)07007
Calvert Hall0177024
2nd Q
SJ-Monroe 10 run (Rosa kick)
CH-T. Williams 20 pass from Stuart (Hayes kick)
CH-C. Willaims 36 pass from Stuart (Hayes kick)
CH-Hayes 32 FG
3rd Q
CH-Neverdon 23 run (Hayes kick)

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