Saints defeat Severn, 28-14, for MIAA B football crown

by Nelson Coffin

While it’s true that several things had to fall into place for St. Mary’s to capture the MIAA B Conference football title this season, it took a lot more than happenstance for the Saints to end up all alone atop the conference.

And, yes, the totally unlike prospect of St. Paul’s upsetting Boys’ Latin was also a big boost for the St. Mary’s to earn a berth in the final.

Still, unranked St. Mary’s had to beat No. 17 Severn twice in a week to claim the crown.

Last Saturday, the Saints pounded the Admirals, 35-7, in the regular season finale.

This week, the St. Mary’s-Severn rematch was in the B Conference championship, and once again the Saints took care of business by doubling up the Admirals, 28-14, at Archbishop Spalding.

St. Mary’s (8-4, 5-2 conference) used its power running game behind linemen Timber Berzins, Parker Lewis, Quinn Donoway, Joe Smoloski and Jamie Romo and fullback Thomas Kerner opening holes for senior running back Donald Day III and junior Marcus Marshall.

“Going into the season, we knew our running game was the best in the conference,” Day III said. “And our offensive line was light year ahead of where they were the year before. They worked really hard over the summer.”

Just to mix things up, the Saints went airborne for their first score, a 21-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Kyle Hill to senior wideout Ryan Poole in the opening quarter for a 7-0 advantage.

Meanwhile, St. Mary’s defenders were also having a field day at Severn’s expense, what with senior defensive end Patrick Kelly, senior lineman Can Brown and senior linebacker Gerard Berzins recording sacks of Severn quarterback Craig Stevens on the Admirals’ first possession after falling behind.

Near the end of the first half, the Saints went on a 57-yard drive on seven consecutive runs, six by Day III and a 20-yard jaunt by Marshall.

Day III capped it off with a 1-yard plunge to up the margin to 14-0 with just over a minute before the intermission.

Midway through the third quarter, an errant snap over the punter’s head gave St. Mary’s possession at the Admirals’ 16-yard line after senior Ben Lamon pounced on the ball for the Saints.

A couple of plays later, Day III darted in from the 3-yard line for a 21-0 cushion.

“Donald has been fantastic all season,” St. Mary’s coach Jason Budroni said. “Any time we needed one or two yards, he’s automatic.”

Following an interception by senior linebacker Ricky Aufderheide, the Saints made it 28-0 when Marshall rammed in for the fourth TD of the night for the Saints.

With such a huge deficit to overcome, Stevens started throwing early and often to talented 6-foot-3 senior wideout Joel Mandish, whose long reach and sure hands allowed the Admirals (8-4, 4-3) to go down fighting by scoring on a pair of 5-yard receptions.

But with time running out, Timber Berzins snuffed out any hope Severn had when he sacked Stevens on fourth down to all the Saints to go into victory formation.

“Hats off to Severn,” Budroni said. “They didn’t quit. But we did what we’ve been doing all season. That’s what we do at St. Mary’s — we keep working.”

Budroni will get no argument from Severn coach Duane Tyler, who acknowledged that the Admirals’ closing run was too late.

“We just couldn’t get it cooking today,” he said. “We weren’t going to give up, but we got beat by the best.”

SM 0 14 7 7 — 28
SV 0 0 0 0 — 14

SM-Ryan Poole 21 pass from Kyle Hill (Dominic Donohue kick)
SM-Donald Day III 1 run (Dominic Donohue kick)

SM-Donald Day III 3 run (Dominic Donohue kick)

SM-Marcus Marshall 2 run (Dominic Donohue kick)
SV-Joel Mandish 5 pass from Craig Stevens (Dylan Gerger kick)
SV-Joel Mandish 5 pass from Craig Stevens (Dylan Gerger kick)