LANDOVER, Md. — No. 22 St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.) made the bigger mistakes and No. 4 DeMatha (Hyattsville, M.D.) took advantage for a 14-13 win Friday.
With the wet field making the teams conservative, a poor snap on a punt by St. John’s (4-1) led to a fumble that the Stags (5-0) recovered at the Cadets’ 25. Four plays later, Khoury Spruill ran it in from the 8-yard line, but a penalty negated the touchdown. Undaunted, DeMatha went back to its running game and five plays later, Spruill scored from the 1-yard line to give his team a 14-7 lead.
Kasim Hill’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Kwincy Hall cut the lead to 14-13 with two minutes to play. St. John’s was going to go for an extra point, but a DeMatha penalty gave the Cadets the ball a yard-and-a-half from the goal line and they elected to go for a run for two points. The Stags stuffed the run and following St. John’s kickoff, ran out the clock on a few running plays.
“I’m extremely proud of our guys,” DeMatha coach Elijah Brooks said. “We made mistakes that put our team in bad positions, but our guys never quit and I’m so proud of them making they plays they needed to come out with the win.”
DeMatha quarterback Beau English, who scored his team’s first touchdown, said he expects to see St. John’s again in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference playoffs.
“I would say the odds are pretty high we see them again,” English said. “That’s a great team over there. With two great teams, it’s going to come down to just a couple of plays. Our game play coming in, we are a power running team and we knew that’s what we hang our hat on. We have been in these situations before. If we get penalties, we can’t lose our heads. We just have to execute and make the next play.”
St. John’s coach Joe Casamento pointed to two plays that made a difference.
“We made a couple of mistakes,” Casamento said. “We had a bad snap on the punt. That was the key play in the game. On the extra point, we probably should have kicked it. I just thought, end it now, if we can. They were running the ball and they couldn’t throw it on us, so I thought if we went ahead, there was no way they would go 80 yards in two minutes.”
The last time St. John’s beat DeMatha was 1994, but English isn’t the only player to think this game is just Round One this season.
“We made a little mistake on that last push, but throughout the game, we thought we had them,” said Cadets wide receiver Hall. “Of course, we will see them again in the (WCAC) championship.”
It was tied at 7 at the half. DeMatha scored on its first series, going 88 yards in 20 plays, punctuated by a 1-yard run by English. Spruill did the heavy lifting on the drive, including a 25-yard run.
Hill answered the next series, completing 7 of 9 passes, including a 3-yard toss to Keilan Robinson for the touchdown.
DeMatha opened the third quarter, chewing up yards but DeMani Hansford intercepted at St. John’s 4-yard line.
The Stags will play Friday vs. Bishop McNamara (Forestville). The Cadets will play Friday vs. St. Mary’s Ryken (Leonardtown, Md.).