Saints rush for 321 yards in 28-21 bounce-back victory; B Conference playoff scenarios here

One week after losing a tough game on the road to St. Vincent Pallotti, two-time defending MIAA B Conference football champion St. Mary’s clinched its return to the post-season with a key 21-14 win over John Carroll, Friday night in Annapolis.

The 14th-ranked Saints (5-3 overall) improved to 5-1 in conference play, with two games to go, and they need just one more victory to clinch the second seed and a home playoff game for the league semifinals in three weeks.

St. Mary’s did most of its damage, as usual, on the ground, with Ki’Sean Gray-Danzler and Alex Wicks combining for 282-yards rushing and three touchdowns. The Saints rushed for 321 yards overall.

St. Mary’s jumped on top early with 14 first quarter points as Wicks scored two minutes in on a 3-yard run and Gray-Danzler got his first TD, with less than a minute to play in the quarter.

Chris Golini added 126 yards through the air, including a touchdown pass to Patrick Dunleavy, in the third quarter which gave the Saints a 21-7 lead.

John Carroll made things interesting with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns, including a long kickoff return for a TD, but Gray-Danzler’s second score, with four minutes left, gave the Saints enough cushion to hang on for the win.

With four teams making the playoffs this year in the B Conference, St. Vincent Pallotti (6-0), which had a bye this week, has the inside track on the top seed with a tie-breaker over St. Mary’s. Beyond the Saints, however, the race for the final two spots is wide open.

John Carroll (4-3 overall) is now 4-2 in conference play and currently in third place with two home games remaining, against Annapolis Area Christian next Friday and Archbishop Curley on Nov. 1. Considering its tie-breaking edges on most of the remaining contenders, one more win would get the Patriots into the post-season.

Curley, which hosts St. Paul’s on Saturday, is currently in fourth place at 3-2. In addition to St. Paul’s and John Carroll, the Friars will travel to Concordia Prep next Friday. Two more wins would have the Friars advancing to the playoffs. If they win just one of their final three they would be at the mercy of the tie-breakers.

Concordia, which will also play Pallotti in its regular season finale, took a big blow to its hopes of making the B Conference playoffs in its first year in the league with a 34-7 loss to Boys’ Latin on Friday. Both the Lakers and Saints are now 3-3.

It’s victory puts BL firmly back in the playoff chase and St. Paul’s, which lost it first three league games of the year, can also get back into contention with a win over Curley on Saturday, which would improve the Crusaders to 3-3 in the conference. Concordia, Boys’ Latin and St. Paul’s are all in must-win situations the rest of the way.

St. Paul’s, which will close its season with its annual rivalry game with Boys’ Latin on Nov. 1, also has a home game with St. Mary’s next Friday, while BL will be at Pallotti next week.

JC 0 7 0 14 — 21
SM 14 0 7 7 — 28