Friars close in on a playoff berth with a 49-14 victory; MIAA B playoff scenarios explained

With homecoming and Senior Day all rolled into one, the Archbishop Curley football team had a lot of incentive for a big performance on Saturday as it met St. Paul’s in an MIAA B Conference football battle.

The Friars delivered.

Curley dominated the Crusaders on both sides of the ball and rolled to a 49-14 victory which moved them to within one win of a birth in the B Conference playoffs.

After forcing a St. Paul’s punt on the game’s first possession, Curley went 69 yards in seven plays on its first drive to take a 7-0 lead on a 14-yard quarterback draw by Kofi Kwaw.

Later in the quarter, a spectacular interception by senior Izaiah Brown setup a 35-yard TD pass to senior Josh Knapp as Curley went on top 14-0.

St. Paul’s cut the Friars’ lead in half with the first of two touchdown passes by St. Paul’s quarterback Scott Smith, early in the second quarter, but Curley answered with a 56-yard touchdown run by senior Julian Howard and the Friars led 21-7 at the half.

Curley then put the game away early in the third quarter, as Howard went 81-yards on the first snap from scrimmage in the second half. That was followed by a Knapp interception which he returned 51 yards to setup a 13-yard touchdown run by senior Desani White to grow the Friars’ lead to 35-7, less than three minutes into the second half.

Leading 35-14 at the end of three quarters, Curley tacked on a pair of touchdowns – a 10-yard run by junior Ronald Clark and a 34-yard run by junior Denzel Evans – to set the final score.

With the win Curley (6-2 overall) improved to 4-2 in the B Conference where they are tied for third place with John Carroll, with two games to play.

Four teams qualify for the league semifinals with St. Vincent Pallotti (6-0) and St. Mary’s (5-1) having already secured their positions. Pallotti, which has games left with Boys’ Latin and Concordia Prep, can clinch first with one more win and can finish no lower than second place. Thus the Panthers will host one of the league semifinals.

St. Mary’s, which has won the last two league titles, is also in great position to host a semifinal game, needing just one win in its final two games to assure that opportunity. The Saints visit St. Paul’s on Friday and travel to Severn on Nov. 2.

Curley and John Carroll, which meet at John Carroll on Nov. 1, are both one win away from clinching a spot because of the tie-breakers they have or will have with another win.

The other two teams still alive are Boys’ Latin and Concordia Prep. Both are 3-3 and tied for fifth. BL, which still plays Pallotti and St. Paul’s, has lost to both Curley and John Carroll, so the Lakers must win both of their games and hope either Curley or John Carroll lose both.

Concordia, despite losing to Boys’ Latin, 34-7, has slightly better odds, but it must beat Curley on Friday and most likely Pallotti in its regular season finale on Nov. 1. John Carroll’s other remaining game is on Friday, at home, against Annapolis Area Christian.

St. Paul’s (2-5 overall, 2-4) was eliminated from playoff contention with its loss at Curley.