Reserve starter throws for two scores and runs for two more as Severn defeats Boys’ Latin in a showdown of MIAA B unbeatens
by Gary Adornato
If opponents in the MIAA B Conference were waiting for the clock to strike midnight for the Severn football team, a bonafide Cinderella program in 2017, they may be waiting for a while longer.
The 20th-ranked Admirals, playing with a reserve quarterback, kept their amazing undefeated run going, Saturday afternoon at No. 18 Boys’ Latin, coming from behind in the second half to sink the host Lakers, 27-21, in a thrilling high school football contest.
Junior Henry Rentz, a transfer from Massachusetts, stepped into the starting quarterback role when regular starter Chris Stevens was knocked out of last week’s contest. Rentz, who usually starts in the slot for the Admirals, as well as in the defensive backfield, responded by throwing for two touchdowns, completing a critical two-point conversion pass and running for two touchdowns, including a 68-yard jaunt with 5:29 remaining in the fourth quarter, for the game winning score. He finished with 174 yards rushing and 157 passing, and, for good measure, Rentz intercepted a pass which thwarted BL’s last ditch effort for a go-ahead score.
Also on the defensive side of the ball, 6-foot-3 junior defensive end Jon Jarosz was a one man wrecking crew, recording four sacks, adding four tackles for loss and forcing a fumble, in addition to anchoring the offensive line.
Severn (7-0 overall, 3-0 MIAA B) seized control of the game in the fourth quarter when it outscored Boys’ Latin (4-3, 3-1) 14-0. Trailing 21-13, after Boys’ Latin quarterback Brenden Crouse scored on a scintillating 11-yard run with just 7-seconds to play in the third quarter, Rentz marched the Admirals 80-yards for the tying score.
The drive ignited when Rentz completed a 34-yards pass, on a third-and-nine, to Joel Mandish and was kept alive by another third down conversion on a run by Rentz. On the 10th-play of the drive, Trevor Marvin glided uncovered down the right sideline and settled under a lofted 20-yard throw from Rentz for a touchdown which pulled the Admirals within two, at 21-19. Rentz then connected with Dylan Gergar on the conversion pass to tie the contest with 7:24 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“Coach has been talking about, next man up,” said Rentz. “Our bench is so small, so we run every day. It’s all about our conditioning. We have a next man up mentality. That underdog, we’ve had an underdog mentality all year, going from puppies to dogs and that’s what happened today.”
After forcing a three-and-out, Severn got the ball back on a punt, at its own 24, with 6:14 left. On first down, Jacob Jarosz gained eight yards and then Rentz weaved through several would-be tacklers, on second down, before racing 68-yards for what proved to be the game winning touchdown.
Stevens is expected to return to the lineup next week, but Rentz figures to remain a big part of the game-plan.
“I didn’t know much about the school coming into this year,” explained Rentz. “I moved from Massachusetts and my old headmaster was a (previous) headmaster here, and he told me it was an amazing school, sports are good, academics are great and coming in with the football program, everyone was so excited. Our seniors have really stepped it up this year and we’ve just shocked the world.”
Rentz’s first series was a little shaky as he was intercepted by Boys’ Latin’s Rashawn Evans, but he was nearly flawless the rest of the afternoon.
He got the Admirals on the board first with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jakob Lilly in the second quarter and scored on a 14-yard run in the third.
When Crouse was able to elude the constant pursuit of Jon Jarosz, he made some big plays to keep the Lakers in the hunt. In the second quarter he completed a 16-yard TD toss to Connor Walsh and he connected with James Rice for a 13-yard score in the third quarter. On his rushing touchdown, Crouse rolled all the way out to the right sideline, before spinning and reversing field, racing all the way back around the left edge and driving across the goal line for an 11-yard TD run.
“Overall, it was just a team effort,” said Jarosz. “Their quarterback, you have to give it to them. They’re phenomenal; their whole team is well coached and very talented, but defensively we got after the quarterback. It wasn’t just me. Everyone was getting back there, so I had a lot of help.”
First-year Severn head coach Duane Tyler, who played at Landon School before going on to play and eventually coach at Trinity University, has the Admirals believing in the value of hard work.
“I take my hat off to those guys because they buy in,” said Tyler. “They come in, they go to work and they do everything that is asked of them, even a little bit more.”
Tyler does admit that even the Admirals are surprised to be 7-0.
“Of course, it’s better than we expected. We’ve changed a little bit, things that just work to our strengths and these are guys are ready to go. Let’s say that game went into overtime, they’re ready to go.”
One place the Admirals may be ready to go is to the MIAA B Conference championship game. Only two teams qualify for the post-season and at 3-0 in the league, the Admirals are in the driver’s seat, especially since they already have wins over contenders BL and St. Paul’s, which provides them with tie-breaker advantages. The Admirals, however, still must navigate three tough games, including John Carroll at home next Saturday, defending champion St. Vincent Pallotti and arch-rival St. Mary’s.
At 3-1 in the league, Boys’ Latin is still in excellent shape to reach the final. The Lakers will travel to Century for a non-conference game next week before closing its regular season with road games at St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s. St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s are both 2-1 and very much alive in the title chase. With games left against St. Paul’s, Boys’ Latin and Severn, St. Mary’s is also in complete control of its own destiny. St. Paul’s has lost to Severn, but still can play its way in if it can win out its remaining games against St. Mary’s, John Carroll and Boys’ Latin.
NO. 20 SEVERN 27, NO. 18 BOYS’ LATIN 21
SEV 0 7 6 14 — 27
BL 0 7 14 0 — 21
SEV – Jakob Lilly 31 pass from Henry Rentz (Dylan Gergar kick)
BL – Connor Walsh 16 pass from Brenden Crouse (Sam Grace kick)
BL – James Rice 13 pass from Crouse (Grace kick)
SEV – Rentz 14 run (kick blocked)
BL – Crouse 11 run (Grace kick)
SEV – Trevor Marvin 20 pass from Rentz (Gergar pass from Rentz)
SEV – Rentz 68 run (kick failed)