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MSD spoils Meehan's return to Saints' sideline

September 12, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

ST. JAMES - Chick Meehan will have to wait at least another week to get his first victory since Oct. 31, 1998 as coach of the St. James Saints.

In a short-sleeved shirt, tie and cap, Meehan strolled the sideline where he spent 24 seasons until leaving at the end of the 1998 season, watching Maryland School for the Deaf ruin the season opener for the Saints on Saturday afternoon, 37-0.

The youthful Saints, with only five seniors, offered a hard-hitting challenge against the veteran Orioles, the national deaf champions from last season who won their 16th straight game.

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However, the MSD defense was far too aggressive, holding the Saints to 40 rushing yards on 26 efforts and 77 yards in the air.

"(MSD) is a good team with a lot of quickness, but we just missed too many blocking assignments," said Meehan. "When you've got sophomores and juniors on the offensive line, it takes its toll, but we'll get better."

Quickness is the middle name on the uniforms of many Orioles backs, like senior halfback Maurice Colston, who rushed for 103 yards on 12 carries, and senior halfback Davon Cook, who added 76 yards on 10 carries and one score.

But MSD's defense brings a smile to the face of head coach Andy Bonheyo.

"We've got a lot of starters back on defense and they all know their roles," Bonheyo said.

MSD scored on its second possession when Colston capped a seven-play, 68-yard drive from 4 yards out with 4:55 left for an 8-0 lead following the conversion.

The Orioles struck at the outset of the second period when Cook scored from 2 yards out to finish off a 66-yard drive.

The Saints immediately coughed up the football on a fumble to give MSD excellent field position at the St. James 34. QB Derrick Williams punched it in from 1 yard out with 9:03 to play.

What enthusiasm the Saints had to begin the second half might have deflated on the kickoff when the football skidded away from Jimmy Sutch, who scrambled to get the ball, downed at the Saints' 2-yard line.

MSD forced a punt and Cook broke through from the right side and blocked it, with Neal Thompson falling on the ball in the end zone for six points and a 30-0 lead.

Colston capped the scoring and set the scoreboard game clock in continuous motion with a 50-yard run around right end at the 5:33 mark of the third period.

"This was our real season opener for us," Bonheyo said, brushing aside the Orioles' 89-0 win over Elkton Christian last week. "(Meehan) has made a big improvement with St. James from last year."

MSD's defensive effort contained St. James senior fullback Miles Chan to only 14 yards on seven carries, forcing Meehan to send Sutch on wide sweeps. Sutch responded with 21 yards on 12 gallant tries.

St. James' deepest threat came late in the third period when the Saints reached the MSD 22 as Nik Holtz connected with Eddie Dorsey for a 21-yard pass play and Joe Thomas on a 27-yard play before the effort was stopped on downs.

"Our quarterback makes his first varsity start, we're young and they took Miles out of the game," Meehan said. "We need to run the football and get to the holes."

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