Big second half carries Curley past Boys’ Latin; Howard scores 2 TDs (VIDEO HERE!)

Boys’ Latin’s Andrew Jenkins is tackled Curley’s Denzel Evans (front) and Paris Brandon during Saturday’s MIAA B Conference football contest. The Friars broke a halftime scoreless tie with four touchdowns over the final 24 minutes to win 28-0 in Roland Park.

by Derek Toney

It took one play to change Archbishop Curley football team’s fortunes Saturday afternoon. On the Friars’ first play of the second half, Julian Howard got a handoff, hit the sidelines and ran 29 yards.

In the first half against Boys’ Latin School, Curley had 25 total. Howard’s run was the start of a breakout for the Friars, who went on to a 28-0 decision over Boys’ Latin School in a MIAA B Conference match at J. Duncan Smith Field in Roland Park.

Howard rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns for Curley (5-2 overall), and senior back Deasani White provided an 8-yard touchdown run. Jacob Biggs threw a scoring pass to senior Zach Szyzybor.

Along with their defense producing a rare shutout, the Friars moved into a tie with Concordia Prep (both 3-2 MIAA B) for the fourth and final berth for next month’s postseason.

The B playoffs, previously the two top teams playing for the title, will be a two-week event with the league expanding to eight squads this season.

After back-to-back home losses sullied a 4-0 start, the Friars got a much needed boost Saturday, though it took awhile.

“Honestly with us struggling the last two weeks, it was tough for us to find where we need to go,” said Curley coach Brendon Ireton, whose team lost to two-time reigning league champ St. Mary’s, and last fall’s runner-up St. Vincent Pallotti. “The guys did a good job of just staying together and sticking with what we’re doing and being able to take over in the second half.”

The Sinclair Lane school had 184 yards in the second half, 148 on the ground. Howard netted 90 of those rushing yards after managing just 13 in the opening half.

Howard, who’s been carrying the running load with teammate Devin Thompson out the last two weeks because of a hamstring injury, gave props to his offensive line mates Sam Burke, Joe Petryszak, Garrett Butt, Jesse Windham and Lacy Hedgepeth as well as bruising fullback Ronald Clark (7 carries, 26 yards).

“I knew I had run a little harder, read the holes faster and make the cuts,” said Howard, who’s “Lightning” to Thompson’s “Thunder” in Curley’s running game.

Howard capped the Friars’ opening second half drive with a 7-yard run for the game’s first points. He went 27 yards into the end zone to complete a 4-play, 53-yard drive on Curley’s next possession.

“Julian’s type of kid who going to keep working, he’s not going to say much,” said Ireton.

After turning away Boys’ Latin on their side of the field, the Friars went back to work on the ground with Howard, Clark and White, advancing the ball from their 40 to BL’s 9. Biggs, off a play-action fake, found Szyzybor in the end zone, extending Curley’s lead to 21-0 with 7 minutes, 21 seconds left in the game.

“You could see the lanes starting open up a little The more and we were getting some bigger runs,” said Ireton. “I think we wore them down in the second half.”

The Friars limited Boys’ Latin to 96 yards in the second half (57 on game’s final drive). Clark and senior Izaiah Brown each had a fumble recovery and sack and Denzel Evans recovered a fumble.

Jeremiah Brown’s interception, led to White’s 8-yard run for Curley’s final score. It’s the first shutout victory for the Friars since a 21-0 victory over St. Mary’s in their perfect 10-0 championship season of 2014.

Colby Weishaar rushed for 82 yards for Boys’ Latin (2-3, 2-3 MIAA B), which lost starting quarterback Matt Greaver to a shoulder injury at the start of the second half. Sophomore Kaden Lymon went 8-of-12 for 59 yards in the fourth quarter.

“It was a great first half, but the defense got tired and we turned the ball over four times,” said Lakers coach Ritchie Schell. “It was a really good game for three quarters.”

The loss put the Lakers outside the playoff picture and will need to win its final three league games. BL hosts Concordia Prep Friday afternoon before closing its season at Pallotti and St. Paul’s School.

Curley, which last postseason appearance was the 2015 B final, controls its playoff fate. The Friars welcome St. Paul’s School for Homecoming Saturday, then play at Concordia and John Carroll School.

Kobe Davis (left) and Ronald Clark help lead a stout defensive effort while Julian Howard sparked the offense with 103 yards and 2 touchdowns as Curley improved to 5-2 on the season with Saturday’s victory. The Friars are tied for the 4th and final postseason spot.

“We told the kids the playoffs started today,” said Ireton. “We felt like we didn’t play well enough the last two weeks and we want to get another shot at those guys and this is the type of game you got to show up and play and finish if you want to be the team that makes the next step.”

Archbishop Curley 28, Boys’ Latin School 0

Curley 0 0 14 14 – 28

Boys’ Latin 0 0 0 0 – 0

Third quarter 

Curley – Julian Howard 7 run (Josh Knapp kick)

Curley – Howard 27 run (Knapp kick)

Fourth quarter

Curley – Zach Szyzybor 9 pass from Jacob Biggs (Knapp kick)

Curley – Deasani White 8  run (Knapp kick)