The Cardinals pull away in the second half for a 27-6 victory, their eighth in nine years
by Nelson Coffin
From its perspective, Calvert Hall College came into the 98th Turkey Bowl against archival Loyola Blakefield as a heavy favorite on a historic run after having won seven of the last eight meetings between the cross-Towson all-boys Catholic schools.
Make it program-best eight out of the last nine — and four in a row — for the No. 10 Cardinals (7-5 overall), who weathered a mid-game rally by the Dons to pull away for a 27-6 victory at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium.
From the game’s earliest stages, things looked promising for Calvert Hall to ultimately close the all-time series gap to favoring Loyola (2-8) to 49-41-8.
Yet there were still some anxious moments for the Cardinals and their followers as the game progressed.
After Loyola’s opening drive reached the Calvert Hall 25-yard line, junior quarterback Jeffrey Snider was sacked for a 9-yard loss by senior linebacker Chance Campbell, forcing a punt to the Cardinals’ 11.
It would be the first of three sacks for the Maryland-bound standout.
Three plays later, Calvert Hall junior quarterback Mike Campbell (no relation to Chance Campbell) connected with senior wideout Chris Cooper on an 89-yard touchdown pass. After junior Chris Cottone’s conversion kick, the Cardinals led, 7-0, with just over six minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
They doubled the advantage shortly after junior running back Tariq Fields’s 40-yard burst carried to the Loyola 10-yard line.
Two plays later, Chance Campbell powered in from the 8-yard line to boost the lead to 14-0, with three minutes to go in the first period.
“It was the last time I was going to go out with my guys,” the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Maryland signee said. “I just wanted to go out and play for the love of the game.”
Senior cornerback Matt Bell’s interception was the first of four defensive stops for the Dons, who managed to bring Calvert Hall’s opening broadside to screeching halt.
If holding the Cardinals in check for more than 15 minutes at that point wasn’t enough, Loyola capitalized on a muffed snap that allowed its next drive to begin at the Calvert Hall 23-yard line with less than two minutes to go in the half.
On the third play after the miscue, freshman quarterback Jordan Moore, who rotated with Snider under center, found senior tight end Evan Boozer on a 14-yard pass to cut the lead to 14-6.
“I thought he was going to run,” Boozer, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound Temple commit said. “But the ball came right to me.”
Although Calvert Hall senior Luke Firlie returned the ensuing kickoff 30 yards to the Loyola 36, Mike Campbell was picked off again by senior defensive back Justin McKoy to end the threat as time expired in the half.
When Calvert Hall coughed up the ball on a fumble recovered by Loyola sophomore safety Jack Koras at the Calvert Hall 41, the momentum the Dons gained in the second quarter was moving at full speed.
However, when Moore was stopped short on a 4th-and-2 on a shoestring tackle by junior defensive back Michael Neal with an assist from senior defensive back Pierce Robinson at the Calvert Hall 18, The Cardinals could breathe a little easier.
“They made the play there,” Loyola coach Anthony Zehyoue said, noting the magnitude of the stop. “And we just had too many penalties today (five for illegal motion, two for illegal shifts and one for an illegal receiver downfield). The penalties were kind of atypical for the way we have been playing lately. But we’re a young team and I’m pleased with our effort.”
He was especially happy with the shot in the arm provided by Moore, who ran effectively for much of the game, as did fellow rookie Adrian Russell.
After Loyola made its sixth straight defensive stop, Calvert Hall finally got untracked again and started to move the ball on the ground.
The Cardinals motored 64 yards in seven running plays and finished the sequence on a clutch 28-yard carry by sophomore running back Adewale Obayanju to go up, 21-6.
That trend continued when the star of the game, Chance Campbell, scored on a 6-yard run after he intercepted a pass tipped by Reggie Sutton to boost the cushion to 27-6 with just over eight minutes left.
As for his program’s all-time best run in the series that kicked off in 1920, Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis deflected kudos directed at him.
“It says a everything about our staff and our kids,” said Davis, a Calvert Hall alumnus whose personal mark improved to 8-3 against the Dons. “It doesn’t happen without them.”
98TH TURKEY BOWL
AT JOHNNY UNITAS STADIUM
NO. 10 CALVERT HALL COLLEGE 27, LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD 6
CHC 14 0 7 6 — 27
LOY 0 6 0 0 — 6
CHC-Chris Cooper 89 pass from Mike Campbell (Chris Cottone kick)
CHC-Chance Campbell 7 run (Chris Cottone kick)
LOY-Evan Boozer 14 pass from Jordan Moore (kick failed)
CHC-Adewale Obayanju 28 run (Chris Cottone kick)
CHC-Chance Campbell 6 run (run failed)