With just under three minutes left to play in Saturday’s MIAA A Conference football contest at 12th-ranked McDonogh, Georgetown Prep running back Bobby Gribbin ran to his Little Hoyas’ sideline, knelt down on one knee, crossed himself, and seemed reluctant to watch the Eagles’ ensuing drive.

All of this despite his having rushed for 226 yards and both of the Little Hoyas’ touchdowns as the primary catalyst in turning a six-point, halftime deficit into what appeared to be the decisive, seven-point margin needed for a victory.

But the muscular, 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior knew better than to count out the pass-oriented offense of the Eagles, who, just one year ago, had erased a 19-point deficit in the final 4 minutes and 49 seconds to secure a one-point triumph over the Little Hoyas.

“I just got down on my knees and I actually started to pray. I was just remembering last year’s game, and how horrible that felt to lose that way,” said Gribbin. “That was the worst feeling ever, last year, and we thought about that all week. So I was just thinking, ‘You know, we can’t let that happen to us again.'”

As it turned out, Gribbin had good reason to be concerned, for the Eagles marched 77 yards in 10 plays before quarterback Joel Jorgensen (18-for-30, 258 yards) completed a four-yard scoring pass to Jabari Weems, slicing the Little Hoyas’ advantage to one point with 35.8 seconds to play.

This time, however, Gribbin had the final hand in cementing the come-from-behind, a 13-12 decision, storming in from the left of Eagles’ place kicker Evan Glaser and extending both of his hands out to deflect the volley, his blocked kick securing the win and igniting a raucous celebration by his Little Hoyas.

“After their first touchdown, I got in there so fast, that they called, ‘Fire,’ so I just knew that I was going to block it,” said Gribbin, whose Little Hoyas trailed, 6-0, at halftime, but ran out the game’s remaining time after receiving the onsides kick.

“All of the previous games, I had been lining up as the second man in. But this week, we switched so that I was the outside guy in that extra point situation. So I could get a better speed rush,” said Gribbin. “I’ve never felt anything this great. I mean, honestly, after what we went through against them last year, this is the best feeling ever.”

In victory, Georgetown Prep improved their overall record to 6-2 and 3-1 in the league, keeping them tied with Gilman (3-1 league) for the overall lead in the conference. The Eagles, meanwhile, slipped to 6-2, 1-2, after having won their first five games.

Saturday’s win followed up the Little Hoyas’ 21-14 upset of the then-No. 1-ranked, unbeaten Calvert Hall Cardinals, who had upended the previous week’s No. 1-ranked team, Gilman, 26-21, after the Greyhounds had routed Georgetown Prep.

In defeating the Cardinals, the Little Hoyas had to stop a potential game-winning drive inside of their own four-yard line as time ran out.

“We felt like we could beat this team. We knew that we could play with them the entire game, that’s why this loss is so frustrating,” said Jorgensen. “We knew they were big and physical. They had beaten Calvert Hall, so, you know, we knew how good these guys were. But we feel like we can compete with them.”

Prep linemen Andrew Mosko (three sacks, one batted pass), David Rauber (three sacks), Bobby Sheehan (one sack, one batted pass) and Tamir Fahmy (fumble recovery) harrassed Jorgensen throughout the game, despite the signal caller’s scoring completions of four and 26 yards, respectively, to Weems and Denzel Walker (nine receptions, 176 yards).

McDonogh led, 6-0, at 1:33 of the second quarter after Walker’s catch from Jorgensen ended a 10-play, 88-yard drive.

That was followed up by a nice defensive stand by the Eagles, this, after the Little Hoyas had taken the ball to the McDonogh seven-yard line on first-and-goal with 47 seconds left in the first half.

In succession, the Little Hoyas dropped the ball in the end zone, Kevin Marvel and Patrick Bosley stopped Gribbin for a one-yard loss, and, Bosley stopped Gribbin for no gain before another Little Hoyas’ pass was dropped in the end zone.

“[Gribbin] was able to break some big runs and bounce them outside, but after that, we had sort of been stopping him. We felt like, at that point, we just had to dig in during the second half,” said Bosley, part of a defense that included E.J. Conway’s fumble recovery and Miles Crump’s interception.

“We felt like we could stop them again, get rolling again on offense, maybe get up by two toucdowns,” said Bosley. “I mean, we played hard, and it was a good game. But I think that in the end, they just out-worked us.”

Gribbin had 129 of his rushing total in the second half behind a massive line comprised of Michael Boland (6-7, 285), Scott Mergner (6-4, 275), Ryan Schneider (6-3, 248), Alex Skarzynski (6-0, 235) and Ryan Smith (6-0, 200).

Gribbin’s three-yard run tied the game at 6-6, late in the third quarter, and his 33-yarder, followed by David Master’s extra point kick, had the Little Hoyas ahead, 13-6, with 2:59 left to play.

“I thought we did a decent job against them in the first half, but then, our denfense, they were able to kind of take us out of the game for a couple of drives, and we allowed Bobby Gribbin to run through the middle,” said the Eagles’ Roman Braglio, who made two tackles for lost yardage.

“Offensive, we weren’t catching the ball as much as we could have, and we weren’t being smart on the offensive line,”  said the 6-4, 230-pound Braglio, who has been offered a schlarship to the University of Maryland. “I think that their size was a factor, but I don’t think that it was too much of a factor. Our front four was driving into them, but Bobby’s just a good running back. You just can’t take that away from him.”

Evan GrantOn the other side, McDonogh’s Evan Grant also had good day in the running game, rushing for 129 yards, but ultimately it was the Prep defense which made the biggest plays.

Dominic Bryan and J.T. Stickland both had interceptions, and Mosko, turned the game around for the Little Hoyas.

Down 6-0, Mosko keyed the game-tying sequence with 1:39 left in the third quarter. With Jorgensen facing third-and-21, Mosko made a hit on the quarterback that caused him to fumble at his own four-yard line.

“We were down there, and they had bad field position, and Bobby Sheehan forced their quarterback out of the pocket,” said Mosko. “But then, he slipped out of Bobby’s hands and I was able to get to him and hold onto him we got the ball back. I think that was huge as far as energizing us.”

Jorgensen lamented the play, which resulted in Fahmy’s recovery of the ball at the McDonogh four-yard line.

“There was a broken play and they were wrapping me up, but I got away from them,” said Jorgensen. “But then, I just kept going back and the crushed me and I fumbled and they were able to pick it up inside the five-yard line.”

Two plays later, Gribbin’s three-yard run made it 6-6.

Gribbin said that his L
ittle Hoyas were haunted by the result of last year’s game, during which the Eagles overcame a 26-7 deficit for a 27-26 victory as Rudy Johnson passed for three touchdowns in the final 4:49 on the Little Hoyas’ home field.

Johnson, who passed for 335 yards and four scores in the contest, led the Eagles on a seven play, 93-yard drive, which started at the McDonogh seven with just 1:34 to play. In the final march, with darkness settling on the unlighted field, Johnson completed four passes to Gabe Macis, including a game winning 34-yard scoring toss with just 22.2 seconds to play.

Gribbin had helped the Little Hoyas to open the second half with a 10-play, 68 yard drive that erased a four-point deficit, capped by his four yard touchdown run for a lead of 10-7.  Gribbin had carried the ball six times for 51 yards during that drive, finished the game with 110 yards on 20 carries, and had also made a huge play on special teams as he blocked a McDonogh punt and then caught the ball in the end zone for a touchdown and a 17-7 Hoyas lead at the end of three quarters.

“We don’t feel like the Baltimore area football teams in the league really respect us,” said Gribbin. “So, you know, we feel like we’re still trying to earn their respect.”

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Georgetown Prep 13, No. 12 McDonogh 12
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2nd Q
McD-Walker 26 pass from Jorgensen (pass fialed)
3rd Q
GP-Gribbin 3 run (kick failed)
4th Q
GP-Gribbin 33 run (Master kick)
McD-Weems 4 pass from Jorgensen (kick blocked)