When Loyola’s Mike Fafaul went down to an injury against Archbishop Spalding three weeks ago, his team was ahead by two touchdowns in an eventual setback.

As a result, the senior quarterback was not only left with a sense of loss, but also with a searing pain in his side.

“I had a contusion on my liver, and I was in the hospital for like two days, for precautionary reasons,” said Fafaul, who returned to action and his starting role last weekend against Caesar Rodney.

“Missing last week’s game against Valley Forge was tough. I had to be like a cheerleader trying to keep everybody up,” said Fafaul. “But it was great to get back last week and to get a win against Caesar Rodney, especially after being really sore for a couple of days after that Spalding game. But I’m fine now.”

Fafaul proved as much on Saturday opposite MIAA A Conference rival McDonogh.

Fafaul threw a 9-yard scoring pass to junior Deemer Class with 4:50 to play, and Jamie Dubyoskie converted his last of five extra points to lift the unranked Dons to a 35-34 upset victory over the visiting, 12th-ranked, previously unbeaten Eagles (5-1, 0-1) before a large gathering of fans at Hargadan Field.

The 6-2, 190-pound Fafaul finished at 12-for-21 for 135 passing as the Dons (3-3, 1-1) overcame a yeoman effort from the Eagles’ 6-3 junior Joel Jorgensen, who rushed for a 1-yard score and went 12-for-23 with 260 yards and two touchdowns.

Jorgensen’s 1-yard run had the Eagles ahead, 34-28, with 5:12 to play, ending a 14-play, 70-yard drive that included Jorgensen’s 6-yard juant for a first down at the Dons’ 2-yard line when he was staring at fourth-and-4.

“Joel is a great quarterback, and we were really nervous about him coming into this game because he can really do some great things with the ball,” said Fafaul. “It felt great to come out here and to compete with him and walk away with the victory. It felt good to get back out here with my guys and to just get a win. This was a great start for us in our league.”

Defensively, the Dons’ Dave Rogers and Jeff Jenkins, as well as the Eagles’ Roman Braglio and Allen Jackson had one sack each. Braglio also had two tackles for lost yardage .

Junior receiver Jordan Floyd agreed that it was good to have Fafaul back, even as Floyd praised the effort of Fafaul’s replacement, junior Taylor Janoskie, in the previous weekend’s triumph over Valley Forge.

“Mike is just a kid who can really play. I mean, he stepped in today and did the job that he was asked to do,” said Floyd, who finished with six receptions for 76 yards and a 3-yard touchdown catch. “You saw today that Mike is just a flat-out baller. It’s just in his genes, I guess.”

Even so, the Eagles led, 7-0, at 9:44 of the first quarter after senior Denzell Walker (five receptions, 109 yards) hauled in a 22-yard pass from Jorgensen, and Evan Glaser converted his first of two extra points to end a seven-play, 50-yard drive.

The Dons answered, immediately, however, to make it 7-7 with 9:32 on the clock when senior Jimmy Holder fielded the ensuing kickoff at his own 5-yard line, sprinted to his own 30 before running to his right, and ran down the Loyola sideline and into the endzone.

“I caught the ball, and I saw the wedge forming, so all that I had to do was make the right read, make that one cut and that was it,” said Holder. “I had some great blocking. That was huge. Every point is important in a game like this. So that was definitely a good way to respond, and it definitely got everybody fired up. That was big. It felt great. You just can’t ask for much better than that.

Mike FafaulThe Eagles were on the move, yet again, as Jorgensen found Walker on the end of a 33-yard pass that landed the him at the Dons’ 39.

But two plays later, Floyd intercepted Jorgensen and returned the ball 36 yards to the Eagles’ 39. Six plays after that, junior Ryan Black (49 rushing yards) raced 11 yards to make it 14-7, Loyola, with 3:18 left in the first quarter.

“We knew coming into the game that being that they were an undefeated team, we were going to be in a battle right from the beginning,” said Floyd, who has been offered a full scholarship by the University of Maryland, and has drawn interest from Northwestern, UCONN, Rutgers and University of Virginia.

Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen was in attendance at the game, which Floyd said made him a little antsy.

“It definitely had me a little more nervous today. Hopefully, I impressed him,” said Floyd. “We knew it was going to be a game where we would have to start right off by playing our hearts out. We wanted to be the ones who came right out and start smacking people around in there, and it worked.”

Jorgensen responded again, however, engineering an 11-play, 80-yard march that ended with an 8-yard scoring run by senior Evan Grant (27 carries, 199 yards, two touchdowns) on fourth-and-1.

Jorgensen had kept the drive alive by sprinting 12 yards for a first down at Loyola’s 25-yard line when facing a third-and-16, and for yet another first down at the Dons’ 19 after facing a fourth-and-1.

But a missed extra point left the Eagles trailing, 14-13, with 5:37 left in the half.

“The game got away from us on special teams, especially on that opening kickoff for them. We just played awful today, and that’s what it came down to,” said Jorgensen.

“We had too many penalties, which killed us. That and the speial teams,” said Jorgensen. “We just have to play smarter. We can’t have all of those mental lapses. We just have to fight and pick it up.”

With 2:29 left in the first half, Holder’s 13-yard run ended a seven-play, 55-yard drive and stretched the Dons’ lead to 21-13. The march was sustatined as Floyd’s 20-yard reception at the Eagles’ 13-yard line erased a second-and-19 situation.

But once again, Jorgensen answered as the Eagles tied the game at 21-all for the half.

Jorgensen orchestrated a nine-play, 79-yard drive that ended with his 17-yard touchdown pass to junior Miles Crump (five receptions, 96 yards) and his subsequent two-point conversion toss to Grant — the latter, on a leaping catch of a ball that was tossed skyward while Jorgensen was being dragged down by a defender.

That sequence also included Jorgensen’s completion of a 43-yard pass — on first-and-26 from his own 33-yard line– that was hauled in over the shoulder by Jabari Weems (two receptions, 58 yards) with a defender on his back.

The Eagles led, 28-21, with 3:33 left in the third quarter on Grant’s 1-yard scoring run.

But after being stopped on downs, the Dons’ Ryan Young recovered a muffed punt return at the Eagles’ 24-yard line. Six plays later, Fafaul’s 3-yard pass to Floyd made it 28-all with 11:55 left in the game.

“We knew that we would have to battle back, because every game has to be played like a championship game. We came out and played this game as if we were pumped up for our last game of the season,” said Black. “We were excited to make big plays,” said Black.

“The pressure was there, but with this being our house, we felt like we had to protect our home turf and that’s what we did. This is what makes a championship team. I’m still absorbing this win. It’s a beautiful thing.”

NOTE: Sophomore running back and defensive back Jabari Weems of McDonogh was taken from the field by ambulance to Johns Hopkins Hospital as a precaution after suffering a third-quarter head injury following a collision while he was attempting to field a punt. Although Weems lay motionless for a time after being hit, trainers who examined him on the field reported that Weems was cognizant and responsive.
To see a full-game video of this contest, with play-by-play from Booker Corrigan, click on the Related Videos link above.
Loyola 35, No. 12 McDonogh 34
1st Q
McD-Walker 22 pass from Jorgensen (Glaser kick)
LOY-Holder 95 kickoff return (Dubyoski kick)
LOY-Black 11 run (Dubyoski kick)
2nd Q
McD-Grant 8 run (kick failed)
LOY-Holder 13 run (Dubyoski kick)
McD-Crump 17 pass from Jorgensen (Grant pass from Jorgensen)
3rd Q
McD-Grant 1 run (Glaser kick)
4th Q
LOY-Floyd 3 pass from Fafaul (Dubyoski kick)
McD-Jorgensen 1 run (kick failed)
LOY-Class 9 pass from Fafaul (Dubyoski kick)