After game is suspended from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning, St. Paul’s tops City in gridiron opener (VIDEO HERE!!)
by Nelson Coffin
Although it took nearly 20 hours over two days to accomplish, St. Paul’s School opened the 2018 football campaign in fine style by defeating City College, 42-13, in a non-league game that started Friday afternoon and was postponed until Saturday morning because of threatening weather at Martin D. Tullai Field in Brooklandville.
As well as the Crusaders played, it took a back-breaking 99-yard drive on Saturday morning to finally break the spirit of the Black Knights, who were playing without 14 suspended players from an incident on last year’s JV squad.
Leading, 21-6, after stopping senior quarterback Michael Bond inches from the goal line before play was stopped on Friday, St. Paul’s then methodically marched down the field when play was resumed and scored on a 14-yard toss from senior quarterback Leo Kelly to junior wideout Alex Sulin.
You could almost feel the wind being sucked out of City’s sails after the score, and things went from bad to worse for the visitors from that point.
“We tried to impress on our kids that if they scored on that first drive it would deflate us,” City coach Mike Hamilton said.
Conversely, St. Paul’s coach Scott Ripley believed that the touchdown would be pivotal for his squad.
“I said to the guys that if we went 99 yards, it would be would get them down,” Ripley said.
To be sure, the Crusaders, who racked up 354 total yards and averaged 8.6 yards per play, made a slew of big plays, including one on their opening drive.
The MIAA B Conference team never trailed the Black Knights, scoring first on a 3-yard run by senior running back Princeton Douglas and a conversion kick by sophomore Damian Ramos with under 10 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The 68-yard scoring drive was kept alive on a nifty 28-yard completion from Kelly to junior athlete Logan Santos, a transfer from New Hanover High in Wilmington, N.C. Kelly was hit by several City defenders while being knocked out of bounds just after he found Santos down the field.
“I rolled to my right and saw Santos, and I let it go,” said Kelly, who finished with 10 completions in 13 attempts for 282 yards and a pair of touchdowns. “He made a great play on the ball. That play gave us momentum. It started the game off right.”
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound standout also connected with senior running back Quizzon Tarver for 37 yards to set up Douglas’ TD run.
City, a Class 3A public school, responded on its initial drive as well, pulling to within 7-6 after a 14-yard scramble by senior quarterback Michael Bond to cap a 70-yard series. Bond’s 44-yard completion to junior wideout Miles Moore was the key play in the sequence.
On St. Paul’s first drive of the second quarter, Kelly found junior wideout Alex Sulin streaking down the right sideline for a pickup of 39 yards and a first-and-goal at the City 4-yard line. Santos bullied his way into the end zone on the next play and the hosts led, 14-6, after another Ramos conversion kick.
The lead ballooned to 21-6 on a 79-yard reception by Santos that showed the newcomer’s physicality and perseverance. After hauling in the pass and running about 30 yards, three City defenders seemed to have him pinned down and he dropped the ball. However, his knee never touched the ground before he scooped up the ball and continued his jaunt into the end zone.
“They were bringing me down,” he said. “I put my head down and I dropped the ball. But I picked it up and kept going.”
Santos, who had three catches for 122 yards and a score, also rushed for a pair of TD’s.
Kelly said the addition of Santos has already paid big dividends for the Crusaders.
“His speed opens up our offense,” Kelly said.
Speaking of speed, the Knights found some in the late going when Bonds connected with junior wideout Camren Banks for a 65-yard gain and the game’s final TD.
“City’s a really good team, and Mike’s a really good coach,” Ripley said. “Their quarterback is phenomenal — we had a tough time containing him. They’ll win a lot of football games. But we’re excited about our future, too. We lost four games by a total of six points last year. We’re really deep in skill positions and Logan (Santos) adds another dimension.”
The Crusaders will have to be on the top of their games next weekend when they travel to Upper Darby, Pa. to take on Monsignor Bonner while the Knights will motor to Frederick to take on Thomas Johnson.
ST. PAUL’S SCHOOL 42, CITY COLLEGE 13
City 6 0 0 7 – 13
St. Paul’s 7 14 6 15 – 42
SP-Princeton Douglas 3 run (Damian Ramos kick)
C-Michael Bond 14 run (run failed)
SP-Logan Santos 4 run (Damian Ramos kick)
SP-Logan Santos 79 pass from Leo Kelly (Damian Ramos kick)
SP-Alex Sulin 14 pass from Leo Kelly (pass failed)
SP-Logan Santos 5 run (Damian Ramos kick)
SP-Phillip Stokes 2 run (Alex Sulin run)
C-Camren Banks 65 pass from Michael Bond (Ward kick)