Vikings top Warriors

September 04, 2004|by MARK KELLER

BOONSBORO - Known primarily for its offensive fireworks, the St. John's at Prospect Hall football team used a defensive stand to stave off a third-quarter Boonsboro rally as the No. 7 Vikings beat the Warriors 40-26 in the season opener for both teams.

As for the fireworks, there were still plenty of those. St. John's quarterback Keith Ricca connected on 21 of 34 passes for 446 yards and five touchdowns - four of those to Max Morris.

Morris also returned a kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown.

"We knew they had the potential to get a big play at any time," Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders said. "I think our game plan was sound, but we needed to get some pressure on (Ricca) and we couldn't effectively do that."


Boonsboro made some noise of its own offensively, racking up 335 total yards, including 298 on the ground.

The teams combined for 833 yards of offense - a total that doesn't include Morris' kickoff return or an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Boonsboro's Blaec Ramos.

The Warriors trailed 26-12 at halftime, but shifted the momentum on the third play of the third quarter when Adam Rippeon picked off a Ricca pass and returned it to the 10-yard line.

Three plays later, quarterback Zach Shoemaker scored on a sneak to cut the Vikings' lead to 26-18.

St. John's nearly struck back on the next play from scrimmage as Ricca hit Randal Smedley across the middle, and Smedley ran for an apparent 61-yard score. But a clipping penalty and an unsportsmanlike conduct call erased the touchdown and moved the Vikings back deeper into Boonsboro territory.

After forcing St. John's to punt, the Warriors used seven different ball carriers to move from their own 14 to the Vikings' 3, catching a break when Zach Exline's fumble at the 10 bounced seven yards forward before rolling out of bounds.

The St. John's defense tightened, however. After the Warriors were called for holding on first down, the Vikings put pressure on Shoemaker, getting a sack and forcing a bad snap to move Boonsboro out of scoring range.

"They played pretty well defensively, I thought," Anders said. "We knew we could do some things offensively because of what we saw on film, but they played much better defense."

Five plays after taking over on downs, Ricca found Morris in the corner of the end zone for their fourth scoring connection of the night. Morris finished with 10 catches for 251 yards.

Jeremiah Mills led Boonsboro with 121 yards rushing. Rippeon added 66 yards and James Barnes had 43 yards and a touchdown.

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