After a two hour bus ride the St. Paul’s football team arrived at McCurdy Field in Frederick, Friday night, for a much anticipated MIAA B Conference football contest with St. Johns Catholic Prep.  The sluggish trip up I-70 took an early toll on the Crusaders as they fell behind, 10-8, at the half, before rallying for an important 35-18 victory which keeps them in the thick of the race for the league championship game.

With the win the Crusaders (6-1, 5-1) remained one four league teams with just one loss, all vying for just two spots in the title game.

The Crusaders actually struck first as Dale Harris scored on a 20-yard run, and Jay Carlson tossed a two-point conversion to Teddy Martinez for a quick 8-0 advantage.  St. Johns (4-4, 2-4) got on the board in the second quarter, with a safety, when a St. Paul’s snap was sent over the quarterback’s head and through the end zone.  Bad went to worse for St. Paul’s on the ensuing free kick as Lamont Wims returned it 60 yards for a score, giving the Vikings a 10-8 halftime lead.  

The second half went a little more smoothly for the Crusaders, as they shook off the early adversity and started to dominate.

AJ Koikoi started the momentum shift when he recovered a fumble to give the Crusaders their best field position of the night.  Spencer Parks then hit Gunnar Waldt for a 30-yard gain and followed with a one-yard touchdown run to give the Crusaders the lead back.  They would not relinquish it again.

Two minutes later Harris scored on a 20-yard run and the Crusaders setup another score by recovering an onside kick.  Taylor Michel grew the St. Paul’s lead to 28-10 with a five-yard scoring run, early in the fourth quarter.

St. Johns got back on the board with a big play, when Nick Peifer completed a 70-yard touchdown pass to Deshawn Weaver.  Michel capped the scoring for St. Paul’s with another touchdown, this time from three yards out, to secure the victory.

Michel led the offensive attack for the Crusaders with 149 yards rushing, while Parks threw for 149 yards and ran for another 106 yards.  Defensively the Crusaders received interceptions from Martinez and Carlson, and Chris Colnitis had two quarterback sacks.

The Crusaders move on to an even bigger game next Friday.  They host Archbishop Spalding, at 3:00 p.m. on Tullai Field.  St. Paul’s, Spalding and Boys’ Latin are all 5-1 in the league, while Archbishop Curley is 6-1.  John Carroll is also still lingering in the title chase at 4-2.

Curley will be out of conference next week, while the other contenders battle head-to-head.  In addition to the St. Paul’s/Spalding game, Boys’ Latin, which was idle this week, will visit John Carroll.

St. Paul’s 35, St. John’s Catholic Prep 18
St. Paul’s80141335
St. John’s Catholic Prep0100818
1st Q
SP-Harris 20 run (Martinez pass from Carlson)
2nd Q
SJCP-Safety – Ball snapped out of the end zone
SJCP-Wims 60 free kick return (Grier pass from Peifer)
3rd Q
SP-Parks 1 run (run failed)
SP-Harris 30 run (Price kick)
4th Q
SP-Michel 5 run (Price kick)
SJCP-Weaver 70 pass from Peifer (Peifer pass)
SP-Michel 1 run (Price kick)