Defense pushes Concordia Prep past No. 18 St. Mary’s, into MIAA B football championship finale
by Donald Daniels
After getting lit up last weekend, Concordia Prep football’s defense realized the program’s championship aspirations rest with them.
They answered the first call Saturday. The 17th-ranked Saints defeated No. 18 St. Mary’s, 8-0, in a MIAA B Conference semifinal in Towson.
Concordia (9-2 overall) will play No. 16 Loyola Blakefield, a 35-0 victor over Boys’ Latin School in the other semifinal Saturday, for the MIAA B title, next Saturday at 7 p.m. at Calvert Hall College’s Russo Stadium.
Concordia is in position for its first championship since 2007, when Concordia was known as Baltimore Lutheran School (shared MIAA C title with St. John’s Catholic Prep), thanks to a solid defensive effort, led by seniors Sone Metuge and Terrell Bartee and sophomore Cam Allen-Jones.
The trio combined for seven tackles for a loss and a turnover Saturday as Concordia Prep, which shutout St. Mary’s (6-4) in the second half of the team’s first meeting Oct. 23 (Concordia won 23-17), shutout the Saints from Annapolis for the first time this season.
“Our mentality this week was to not let our foot off the gas,” Metuge Jr. said who had two sacks, seven tackles and an interception. “Last time we played them [St. Mary’s] we came out soft and fell behind early, we didn’t want that to be the case this time so came out strong and didn’t let up.”
Jaedon Alston’s 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter for Concordia was the game’s lone offensive score. Concordia’s offense did not have to do a lot Saturday with its defense handling most of the workload.
St. Mary’s best opportunity came on the opening drive. Wyatt Cotton came up with runs of 35 and 15 yards, helping the Saints reach Concordia’s 15. But three straight penalties derailed the drive.
Concordia won the field position battle in the first half as St. Mary’s was deep in its territory when a punt snap sailed high and went out of the end zone for a safety with 1 minute, 41 seconds left before halftime.
Concordia got solid field position (its 42) to start the second half and capitalized. Alston, who opened the drive with a 33-yard run, capped a six-play, 58-yard drive with his 1-yard score.
The Saints from Towson put together a solid drive on their next possesion, but a 30-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Teddy Androus, giving St. Mary’s a spark.
But penalties and Concordia’s stingy defense was too much for St. Mary’s overcome. Concordia, using running back Everett Dingle in the Wildcat, ran out the final four minutes after St. Mary’s punted the ball back after another drive went awry.
St. Mary’s coach Jason Budroni was proud of his team’s effort this season.
“We dealt with a lot injuries this year, but the kids kept stepping up,” Budroni said. “We had a ton of tight wins this year, but the penalties hurt us today and we just couldn’t overcome that.”
Concordia Prep will get another shot at Loyola, which routed the Saints, 41-6, last Saturday at Hargaden Field. After scoring first, Concordia saw the Dons rolled off 34 straight points.
“Execute, execute, execute, that is what we have to do against Loyola,” Concordia Prep coach Joe Battaglia said. “We gave some big plays to them in our first game and we have to clean that up. They’re a great team with great talent, but we are up for the challenge.”
MIAA B Conference semifinal
No. 17 Concordia Prep 8, No. 18 St. Mary’s 0
Concordia Prep – Safety (St. Mary’s punt snap out of end zone)
Concordia Prep – Alston 1 run (conversion failed)