Hampered by turnovers in the early going, St. Vincent Pallotti eventual turned field goals into touchdowns and pulled away for a 58-21 rout of host John Carroll, Friday, in a MIAA B Conference football showdown in Bel Air.
The Panthers, who lost twice to John Carroll last fall, including once in the playoffs, are starting to flex their muscles as title contenders in 2016, while the Patriots, who went 12-0 in their 2015 championship season may be eliminated from this fall’s championship chase before the weekend is out.
Pallotti trailed much of the first half as it turned the ball over three times in the first two quarters and was limited to three field goals from Tyler Lilja, before finally reaching end zone, twice, late in the second half. The second TD was a 60-yard run by senior Jaret Patterson on the final play of second quarter. The inside handoff appeared designed to run out the clock, but Patterson broke a couple of tackles before racing to daylight and a back-breaking score.
Pallotti went up 37-7 with a pair of scores early in the third quarter to end any doubt about the outcome. Rice came up with his second touchdown catch of the night to put John Carroll back on the board, midway through the third quarter, before Pallotti scored two more touchdowns to build a 51-13 lead and evoke a running clock late in the third quarter.
Each team scored again in the fourth quarter to set the final score.
Pallotti, which is 6-2 overall, is now 4-0 in the MIAA B Conference. Boys’ Latin, which plays at Severn on Saturday, is the only other undefeated team in the league, at 3-0. With only two teams making the post-season in the B Conference this year, John Carroll (1-6, 1-2) would be eliminated from its title defense if BL defeats Severn on Saturday.
If that occurs, the best the Patriots can do is finish in a tie with Pallotti and/or Boys’ Latin and it would lose the tie-breaker in either case because of head-to-head losses. Boys’ Latin will host Pallotti next Friday is a possible championship game preview.
Severn (2-1), which lost to Pallotti earlier this fall, could dramatically improve its chances of reaching the championship game with a win over BL. Archbishop Curley (0-2), which hosts St. Mary’s on Saturday, also remains mathematically alive for the championship game, but it must win all of its remaining games, including a contest with Pallotti, and see the Panthers lose one additional league game and Severn lose two, to qualify for a fourth straight appearance in the final.