Hendershot has no shot vs. Saints' 'D'

October 22, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

As gloomy as the weather was on Thursday afternoon, Bishop Walsh boarded its bus back to Allegany County with cloudier heads.

St. James obliterated Bishop Walsh 35-0 for its fifth straight win in the Saints' home finale, erasing with it the memories of last year's stinging 46-42 loss to the Spartans, in which Bishop Walsh quarterback Chris Hendershot threw for 472 yards - at the time a Maryland single-game record.

However, Thursday was a complete turnaround for St. James, which mixed up its defensive calls, frustrating Hendershot and causing the Spartans to look totally out of whack.


The Saints (5-2) allowed Hendershot to complete only 8 of 18 passes for 22 yards, with three completions going for negative yardage.

On the ground, the numbers were even more dramatic as Bishop Walsh (4-5) managed a net minus-25 yards on 20 carries.

"Obviously we knew (Hendershot) threw the ball well, but we thought they would have problems stopping us," said Saints coach Chick Meehan, who gave his players the good news of being off until practice Tuesday. "We've got kids that are maturing that had very little prior varsity experience and we have four really, really good backs."

The Saints, who will face another passing whiz in two weeks when they battle Keith Ricca and St. John's at Prospect Hall, mixed things up defensively.

"We played man and zone coverage," Meehan said. "Our goal was to get pressure on them by covering the screen."

Senior Miles Chan, unable to play on offense due to a broken finger that was heavily wrapped, took his aggressiveness out on the Spartans defensively and set the tone early in the first period with consecutive head-ringing tackles on Brandon House. Later in the same period, Chan forced a fumble by Jeremy Sneathen after a pass reception.

After speaking to the team in the postgame huddle, Chan said he's enjoyed his St. James experience.

"I've been playing here since I was in the eighth grade and weighed 130 pounds," said Chan, now 6-2, 220. "I've worked hard every year and we've suffered a lot. But we've gained a positive attitude after the first two games we lost. We knew it was just going to be a matter of time until we turned it around. It's been a positive experience."

Offensively, where the Saints had been averaging 27 points per game in their last four wins, they started marching on Bishop Walsh right away.

After a game-opening three-and-out by the Spartans, St. James scored on its first play when Eddie Dorsey turned around left end and scampered 57 yards.

At the outset of the second quarter, an interception by the Saints' Drew St. Lawrence set up the second score - Jimmy Sutch's 2-yard plunge.

Bishop Walsh lost nine yards and had to punt on its next possession, but an ineffective punt went backwards 11 yards and Shannon Strange scored three plays later from 3 yards out for a 21-0 lead.

St. James waited until its second play from scrimmage in the second half for six points when Nik Holt connected with Joe Thomas on a nifty 63-yard pass and run for a touchdown.

The running clock went into effect with 5:47 left in the third period when Sutch galloped 59 yards for the Saints' final tally.

"I think people look at us and think we aren't as really good as we are," Meehan said. "The kids have been believing that success breeds success."

St. James ended with 230 yards rushing, with Dorsey and Sutch each gaining 79 yards.

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