St. Paul’s routs Boys’ Latin; Kelly accounts for 4 TDs

Boys’ Latin quarterback Brenden Crouse is unable to escape St. Paul’s Jon Walker during the first half of Friday’s MIAA B Conference football contest. The Crusaders took over in the second half, en route to a 34-14 victory over their rivals at Stevenson University.

As the final seconds ticked in St. Paul’s School’s football victory over Boys’ Latin School Friday evening, Crusaders coach Scott Ripley got a celebratory water bucket dumping.

St. Paul’s had ups and downs in Ripley’s first season, which ended on the highest of highs with a 34-14 blowout decision over the Lakers in a MIAA B Conference match in front of an estimated audience of 1,700 at Stevenson University’s Mustang Stadium. Leo Kelly threw for three touchdowns and ran for another for the Crusaders (4-5 overall, 3-3 MIAA B) and senior defensive back Ryan Rogan picked off two passes.

On a night St. Paul’s honored its seniors, the Brooklandville school assembled its finest effort of the fall. For the first time since 2013, the Crusaders have possession of the Alumni Trophy.

“It was a great team effort. We talked about playing the perfect football game tonight,” said Ripley. “We had a couple of mistakes, but everybody stayed together making big plays after big plays.”

St. Paul’s stunned the Lakers (5-5, 4-2 MIAA B)in the second half with several salvos, extending its series lead, 41-22-1. Boys’ Latin won the 2016 and 2015 meeting by a combined 34 points.

“It feels great to bring it (Alumni Trophy) back home,” said Rogan.

Rogan had two of the five interceptions the Crusaders’ defense force against Boys’ Latin quarterback Brenden Crouse. Crouse had thrown just three INTs coming into Friday.

Quizzon Tarver, Everette McDuffie and senior tri-captain Chris Cabral each had finished with an interception. Senior tri-captain Jon Walker added a quarterback sack.

Ripley credited defensive coordinator Jamal Johnson’s game plan.

“Our linebackers played well and had a nice pass rush on their quarterback,” said Ripley. “They’re [Boys’ Latin] a great football team. If they play for the championship next week they have a great shot at winning it.”

The Lakers’ championship aspirations were abruptly put into a bit of limbo, courtesy of St. Paul’s. The Crusaders dominated field position in the first half, but were tied at 14 at halftime after Jyair Thomas’ 86-yard kickoff return score for Boys’ Latin.

The Lakers went three-and-out to start the second half, and St. Paul’s took over. The Crusaders went 74 yards in six plays as Kelly rolled to his right and scampered nine yards into the end zone.

Two plays later, Rogan intercepted Crouse deep in St. Paul’s territory. The Crusaders mounted a 13-play, 82-yard drive with McDuffie getting a Kelly pass in the flat and getting to the corner of the end zone from seven yards, extending the lead to 27-14.

Carver came down with another Crouse attempt, giving St. Paul’s possession at its 31. The next play, Douglas went 69 yards and rout was on.

“BL is a good team, but we kept working and moving the ball down the field” said Rogan. “Trust the process.”

“Their ‘D’ is pretty good but we were able to find open guys and make plays happen,” said Kelly.

Kelly finished 21-of-31 for 296 yards with completions to nine different receivers. Douglas, a junior, finished with 80 yards and touchdown run and senior Mitchell Daugherty had a team-best 86 yards.

A nifty one-handed grab by James Rice on a Crouse 26-yard throw accounted for Boys’ Latin’s lone offensive score. The Lakers will need Severn defeat St. Mary’s Saturday afternoon to clinch a spot in next weekend’s B final.

If St. Mary’s wins, creating a three-way tie, Boys’ Latin would be eliminated because it has a loss to a lower team in the standings than Severn and St. Mary’s.

The Lakers, who would’ve clinch a title game spot with a victory, never got track on Friday.

“We dropped passes, we didn’t make tackles and they out-played us,” said Lakers coach Ritchie Schell. “Hopefully, Severn beats St. Mary’s and we get one more game to show we’re better than this.”

The Crusaders hope Friday’s performance is a precursor to 2018. Twenty-five letterwinners are scheduled back.

For the 19 seniors, Friday was a perfect ending.

“It was a great way to go out,” said Rogan.

St. Paul’s School 34, Boys’ Latin School 14

at Stevenson University

Boys’ Latin 0 14 0 0 – 14

St. Paul’s 7 7 20 0 – 34

First quarter

St. Paul’s – French 13 pass from Kelly (Ramos kick)

Second quarter

Boys’ Latin – Rice 26 pass from Crouse (Grace kick)

St. Paul’s – French 34 pass from Kelly (Ramos kick)

Boys’ Latin – Thomas 86 kick return (Grace kick)

Third quarter

St. Paul’s – Kelly 9 run (Ramos kick)

St. Paul’s – McDuffie 7 pass from Kelly (kick failed)

St. Paul’s – Douglas 69 run (Ramos kick)