St. Frances routs No. 2 McDonogh; Smith picks off four passes
Last season, St. Frances Academy football team made a statement with its victory over McDonogh School.
Friday, the Panthers left a huge exclamation point.
No. 1 St. Frances posted a 28-0 decision over the second-ranked Eagles in a MIAA A Conference contest at Patterson Park’s Utz Field. Joahim Bangura rushed for two touchdowns for St. Frances (6-0 overall) and Terrell Smith intercepted four passes.
The defending MIAA A champs and the state’s top-ranked squad flexed their size and speed, turning the battle of the league’s lone undefeated squads into a mismatch. The East Chase Street school, ranked No. 22 in the latest USA Today Super 25, has beaten its first three league opponents by a combined 121-7.
“It’s an impressive win. Those guys [McDonogh] are really good and to shut them out was good,” said St. Frances co-coach Henry Russell. “It was a great team win.”
“We can out here ready to ball. McDonogh wasn’t going to back down,” said Smith. “We came out and gave them something they weren’t expecting.”
Like a career night from Smith. The 5-foot-8 senior cornerback had a 30-yard pick six, putting St. Frances up 21-0 early in the third, among his four-pack of INTs. He missed on a fifth in the end zone in the fourth quarter.
“We thought McDonogh would challenged us on deep balls and Terrell answered the call,” said Russell. “The pick six I thought the change the game.”
The Eagles rotated seniors Dejuan Ellis (11-of-20, 114 yards) and Nathan Walsh at quarterback to confuse the Panthers. St. Frances had five interceptions total Friday as Breon Noel picked off Walsh (four-of-16, 85 yards) in the first half.
After stopping McDonogh on downs at their 28-yard line, the Panthers went 72 yards in eight plays as Bangda, a transfer from St. John’s College in the District, bowled into the end zone from eight yards. Junior quarterback Jalon Jones, who had touchdown throws dropped on his prior two attempts, called his number and went 40 yards, extending St. Frances’ advantage to 14-0 with 8 minutes, 57 seconds left in the first half.
Bangda (12 carries, 64 yards) put the game out of reach with a seven-yard touchdown run midway in the fourth. The Panthers rushed for 217 yards Friday with Jones, a Mississippi State commit (transfer from Virginia’s Henrico), finishing with 65.
Senior end Eyabi Anoma, Jalen Carter and freshman Aaron Willis each recorded sacks for the Panthers’ defense which allowed 45 yards rushing. It was the first time since 2012 McDonogh was shutout.
Last fall, St. Frances won at McDonogh (34-20), setting the table for the Panthers’ somewhat surprising run to the MIAA A crown.
The Panthers appear on track for a repeat after Friday’s showing.
“They’re just a way better team,” said McDonogh coach Dom Damico. “They’re bigger, stronger, faster, better. They’re like a college football team. It’s like a college team versus a high school team. We’re not deep enough or strong enough to play them. That’s just a different breed of football.”
No. 1 St. Frances Academy 28, No. 2 McDonogh School 0
at Patterson Park
McDonogh 0 0 0 0 – 0
St. Frances 7 7 7 7 – 28
St. Frances – Bangda 8 run (Larson kick)
St. Frances- Jones 40 run (Larson kick)
St. Frances – Smith 30 interception return (Larson kick)
St. Frances – Bangda 7 run (Larson kick)