A few days before the 2010 season opener against St. John’s, Calvert Hall coach Donald Davis talked about the importance of winning that game. There were lofty expectations surrounding the Cardinals and beating the Cadets, a team that owned them the past seven seasons, was critical to their psyche.

The Towson school won and went on to win the MIAA A Conference championship and finish No. 1 in the area and the state. The Cardinals hope a victory Saturday sets the tone for another big season. Calvert Hall reached the MIAA A finals in 2012 and 2011 and finished No. 2 in the area.

The Cardinals, ranked No. 4 in the state media poll, has senior quarterback Colar Kuhns back to anchor the offense with Trevor Beam, Nick Auvil and Drew Devanney returning up front. Eric Evans, who will play for lacrosse at Ohio State University in the spring of 2015, is arguably the area’s best tight end while running back/wide receiver Russell Neverdon is healthy after injury-plaqued 2012.

Mason Phoenix and Spencer Tuverson will lead the defensive front with talented sophomore Rashaun Smith moving from the interior to linebacker. Nick Smith and Juantez McRae will anchor the secondary.

St. John’s (6-5 in 2012), which reached the WCAC playoffs last season, is led by quarterback William Ulmer, who’s committed to the University of Maryland. Defensive back Omar Truitt is committed to Iowa.

Last year, Calvert Hall held on for a 21-17 decision at Russo Stadium. The Cadets hold a 7-4 edge in the series that dates back to 2001.