No. 6 Mount St. Joseph build 42-0 halftime lead to move 4-1; Wax rushes for 146 yards (VIDEO HERE!)

Mount St. Joseph running Marlowe Wax (2) breaks out of Gilman’s Gage Crites’ tackle attempt to gain some of his 149 yards Saturday. The sixth-ranked Gaels improved to 4-1 with a 49-6 decision at Pleyvak Field in Baltimore City.

by Derek Toney

Depending on one’s view, the MIAA A Conference football is going through a transition. Take Gilman School and Mount St. Joseph for example.

The No. 6 Gaels posted a 49-6 decision over the Greyhounds Saturday afternoon at Pleyvak Field in southwest Baltimore. Junior running back Marlowe Wax rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown for the Gaels (4-1 overall) and Will Atkins threw four first half touchdown passes.

In what was supposed to be the 2018 MIAA A league opener, Mount St. Joseph ran up a 42-0 halftime advantage en route to its third straight victory over its Roland Park rival.

There will be no MIAA A standings kept or a postseason tournament this fall, a decision made by the private league’s executive board last month after St. Joe, Gilman, Calvert Hall College, McDonogh School and Archbishop Spalding declined in late spring to play St. Frances Academy this season, citing safety and competitive balance concerns.

St. Frances, which outscored league opponents, 341-50 (including playoffs) in 2017 en route to a second straight league title and No. 4 ranking in USA Today’s Super 25, was declared the 2018 MIAA A champion.

After losing in last year’s MIAA A final, Gilman (0-5) has yet to win a game this season. The Greyhounds won 13 MIAA A championships between 1997 and 2015.

New Gilman coach Nick Bach said his squad is working through injuries that has affected its overall depth.

“The core group that’s here is very resilient and mentally tough. I tell them every week we’re in this together,” said Bach, who succeeded Tim Holley after leading Georgia’s Mountain View to its most successful run (won 17 games in final two seasons and made Georgia Class 7A state playoffs in 2017 and 2016). “We’re going to fight until we can’t fight anymore.”

Gilman’s only score came in the third quarter on senior Spanky Dixon’s 1-yard touchdown to open the second half. The drive was sparked by a 52-yard run by freshman Ke’yon Torain, one of 17 freshman and sophomores on the Greyhound roster.

“There’s a lot of positives we can draw off from continuing to fight. We put a drive down on those guys and played hard defensively,” said Bach. “We’re trying to focus on the positive as we rebuild.”

Mount St. Joseph has regrouped after a 59-6 pounding at nationally-ranked Good Counsel a couple of weeks ago. Atkins, a sophomore, went 9-of-10 for 128 yards in the opening half with scoring strikes to sophomores Dont’e Thornton (19 yards) and Andre Crawley (29) and seniors Kahri Barfield (15) and Maurice Nelson (19).

The Irvington school scored on six of eight possessions in the first half.

“I thought it was solid, I think we got back on track,” said Gaels coach Rich Holzer. “The kids responded to the challenge of this week. They executed.”

“After that loss [vs. Good Counsel], we had to comeback and find each other. We’re brothers,” said Wax. “Holzer gave us a long talk and we had some long practices. We just had to execute.”

The Gaels needed just four plays and 68 seconds before crossing the end zone as Atkins connected with Crawley (two catches, 58 yards). Mount St. Joseph got the ball at Gilman’s 39 on its next possession and, three plays later, Barfield pulled down Atkins’ throw for another score.

Atkins made it 21-0 with an 11-yard bootleg with eight seconds left in the opening quarter. The Gaels scored twice in the final 1:45 of the first half as Wax scored from a yard and Nelson capitalized on Ashton Knight’s fumble recovery with a nifty touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone.

The Gaels won 28-25 last season, and 34-20 in 2016, ending a seven-game losing streak to Gilman (won by average margin of 32 points during streak).

Saturday, Mount St. Joseph welcomes undefeated and fourth-ranked Calvert Hall to Pleyvak Field for Homecoming. The Cardinals handed Mount St. Joseph a 34-0 pounding last year in Towson.

“It’s going to be a dog fight,” said Wax. “Last year wasn’t the case. We got something to prove.”

No. 6 Mount St. Joseph 49, Gilman School 6

Gilman 0 0 6 0 – 6

Mount St. Joseph 21 21 0 7 – 49

First quarter

MSJ – Andre Crawley 29 pass from Will Atkins (Atkins kick)

MSJ – Kahri Barfield 15 pass from Atkins (Atkins kick)

MSJ – Atkins 11 run (Atkins kick)

Second quarter

MSJ – Andre Thornton 19 pass from Atkins (Atkins kick)

MSJ – Marlowe Wax 1 run (kick blocked)

MSJ – Maurice Nelson 19 pass from Atkins (Michael Swann pass from Ryan Mills)

Third quarter

Gilman – Spanky Dixon 1 run (kick failed)

Fourth quarter

Mount St. Joseph – Gavin Pringle 35 interception return (Zach Uhler kick)