MCSI provided a post-season opportunity in the absence of MIAA playoffs

by Gary Adornato

It’s not the championship they hoped they would be playing for on this coming weekend, when their 2018 schedules were originally announced at the end of the 2017 season, but No. 3 Calvert Hall and No. 4 Archbishop Spalding will be playing for a football title next Saturday, at Spalding.

With the 2018 MIAA A Conference regular season virtually voided and St. Frances being declared league champions before summer camp even opened, the remaining A Conference schools, most which elected not to play St. Frances, were left with little to play for this fall, other than pride.

Calvert Hall (10-1) coach Donald Davis, however, who still has a Turkey Bowl battle with Loyola looming on Thanksgiving Day, was determined to change that.

Davis, seeking to develop an unofficial playoff for the five A Conference teams not named St. Frances, canvassed his league rivals and found that Spalding and Mount St. Joseph would support the effort, while Gilman and McDonogh elected not to participate.

To make things interesting, Davis created an event — the Maryland Christian Schools Invitational — that was part tournament and part showcase, which included Avalon School, Riverdale Baptist, National Christian, Capitol Christian.

The event opened on Thursday as Calvert Hall survived an upset bid from Avalon when Peter Moore kicked a field goal, with 1:39 left, to lift the Cardinals a 17-16 win, in one semifinal of the tournament bracket.

Spalding (7-2) played at Riverdale Baptist in the other semifinal, blasting the Crusaders, 32-12. Jayden Umbarger rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another to lead the Cavaliers.

Thus, Cavaliers will host the Cardinals next Saturday at 5:00 p.m. for the tournament title. It will be a rematch of the regular season meeting between the two teams, won by Calvert Hall, 21-7.

Loyola, which was originally scheduled to play Riverdale Baptist last weekend, released the Crusaders from that commitment so Riverdale could play Spalding. Instead, Loyola played Capitol Christian and rolled to a 41-0 victory.

No. 5 St. Joe (9-2), in what amounted to a showcase game, played National Christian at Oxon Hill and posted a lopsided 42-12 victory.

Next week at Spalding, Mount St. Joe will play Capitol Christian at 11:00 a.m., Avalon and Riverdale Baptist will meet in a consolation game from the tournament bracket at 2:00 p.m. and, of course, Calvert Hall and Spalding will square off for the title at 5:00 p.m.