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Saints thank Meehan with a farewell victory

November 05, 2007|By CHRIS CARTER

SAINT JAMES - "Thanks for everything," St. James coach Chick Meehan said to his players as they broke from his final postgame huddle Saturday afternoon.

The Saints showed that the sentiment was mutual as they gave Meehan a proper farewell by rolling past Maryland Christian 33-6, ending the Meehan era on a three-game winning streak.

"Everybody has so much respect for him," quarterback Mike Russ said. "It was an emotional day. We're just glad to get this last win for him. He went out in style."

It is the 20th win for Meehan since he decided to return to coach the varsity team in 2004. Overall, Meehan's record stands at 142-97-1 with the Saints, whom he coached from 1974-99.

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"Watching these kids grow up through the program has been great," Meehan said. "Practicing everyday for two hours, being around them all the time, that's what I'll miss the most."

Meehan watched several of his players come full circle Saturday as four seniors scored touchdowns. Idara Umoren, Barrett Brown and Alfred Titus-Glover rushed for scores, and T.K. Washington caught a touchdown.

"(Meehan) has definitely been a great role model for us over the years," said Brown. "He wants to win, but he does it in a classy way. He'll never run up the score on a team."

On a day when they had every opportunity to pad stats and hike up the score, the Saints settled for the victory to clinch their third winning season in four years under Meehan. St. James pounded the ball between the tackles for 324 yards - 232 in the first half - and took a 33-0 lead midway through the third quarter.

Brown paced the Saints with 104 yards, Umoren had 51 - each carried just nine times, including only once each in the second half - and Russ scrambled for 63. All of Russ' yardage came on designed play action to the fullback, and the 225-pound signal caller sliced the edges of the Maryland Christian defense. Russ' 24-yard touchdown run gave the Saints a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.

"Our fullback is a big part of the offense," Russ said. "He pretty much gets keyed on, and everybody in the stadium has an eye on him. It's what allows us to sell the fake so well."

Brown usually manned that fullback position, proving to be as tormenting without the ball as he was with it. He scored from 17 yards out to ignite a 20-point second quarter for the Saints, during which Umoren scored and Russ hit Washington for a 6-yard touchdown and a 26-0 lead.

Senior reserve Titus-Glover scored on a 6-yard run in the third quarter - the final points scored under Meehan.

"It's definitely great. This was the best way to honor (Meehan)," Brown said. "This was the way to go."

The Saints defense bid adieu by forcing four turnovers - three interceptions of quarterback Luke DiPaola - which led to 20 points. Jordan Barr forced and recovered a fumble, Dylan Zimmerman, Grant McWilliams and Patrick Solberg had picks and Bryan Hummel-Price and Jun Cho each sacked DiPaola.

Maryland Christian finally scored when DiPaola hit Jed Yousefi for a 10-yard touchdown with 4:10 left in the game. Yousefi caught all four passes for 62 yards. Jordan Campbell led the ground game with 113 yards.

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