High school football: Saints experience little of everything

August 31, 2013|By TIM KOELBLE |
  • Saint James' Tyler Goerge (bottom, brings down Central Maryland Christian ball carrier on Saturday during the second quarter of the Saints' 28-17 loss in its season opener.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

ST. JAMES — The length of Saturday’s game between Saint James and Central Maryland Christian caused the Saints players to hustle to the cafeteria for the daily 6 p.m. dinner hour.

After 30 assessed penalties and a 40-minute lightning delay, a football game was finally completed on the new field turf at Saint James.

Central Maryland Christian rallied in the last 10 minutes to hang a 28-17 loss on the Saints, spoiling the debut of head coach John Root.

“It was a messy game, one of those things,” Root said. “We had moments of brilliance with periods of errors.”

The good — Saint James (0-1) had a pair of rushers over the 100-yard mark. Justin Pank had 168 yards on 18 carries and Noah Cisse had 103 on 16 carries as the Saints picked up 277 yards on the ground.

The bad — The Saints were marked off 185 yards on 19 penalties — several that were questionable and others that halted possible Saint James drives.

“Most of the mistakes were from the offense,” Root said. “You can’t change what happened, now we have to go and get better.”

The Saints held a 17-14 lead with 9:53 remaining on their first drive after the lightning break.

Pank’s 30-yard gallop set up his own 23-yard scoring run but the Crusaders (2-0) answered immediately on a 63-yard drive.

Zach Cote rumbled 50 yards on the first play before he was caught from behind, and four plays later the Crusaders took a 21-17 lead on a 2-yard run by quarterback Isaac Crone, who had 91 yards rushing.

After an exchange of possessions, Saint James had the ball on its 25, Pank picked up 13 and then the Saints coughed up the ball when quarterback Garrett Blank misfired on a handoff to Pank.

From the 33, the Crusaders took over and Cote, who had 99 yards rushing, scored from the 3 with 1:59 to play, giving the Crusaders a 28-17 lead.

“I think we had a little depth issue and wore down a little,” Root said. “At the same time, I was happy how we responded when they scored early in the game.”

After a long, drawn-out scoreless first quarter, the Crusaders took a 7-0 lead on a 19-yard pass from Isaac Crone to Zach Weaver.

A 51-yard touchdown by Pank was nullified, but Saint James didn’t fret, as Blank hooked up with Sherman Harris on a 60-yard catch-and-run. No one was about to catch Harris before the teams headed to the locker room, deadlocked 7-7 at the break.

Saint James scored on a 33-yard field goal by Chris Abbott with 4:24 left in the third quarter, set up by a shanked punt, for a 10-7 lead.

“There aren’t many first-and-20-to-go plays in the playbook,” Root said of the penalties, also coming at times that kept Root from sending Abbott out for field goal tries.

“We just couldn’t get (Abbott) out on the field,” Root said. “And Pank, he’s a tough kid, has deceptive speed and puts his shoulders down.”

Saint James outgained the Crusaders 364-279, including 87 yards in the air. Both punters had a good day, with Abbott averaging 39.8 yards per boot.

Central Maryland Christian 28 Saint James 17
CM Christian    0    7    0    21    —    28
Saint James    0    7    3    7    —    17
Second Quarter
C—Zach Weaver 19 pass from Isaac Crone (Brady Ripple kick)
SJ—Sherman Harris 60 pass from Garrett Blank (Ryan Abbott kick)
Third Quarter
SJ—Abbott 33 FG
Fourth Quarter
C—Eli Crone 54 pass from Isaac Crone (Ripple kick)
SJ—Justin Pank 23 run (Abbott kick)
C—Isaac Crone 2 run (Ripple kick)
C—Zach Cote 3 run (Ripple kick)
    CMd    SJ
First downs    16    17
Rushes-Yards    45-264    37-277
Passing Yards    15    87
Comp-Att-Int    2-7-1    4-14-0
Total yards    52-279    51-364
Fumbles-Lost    0-0    2-2
Punts-Avg    5-40.6    5-39.8
Penalties-Yards    11-95    19-185
RUSHING—Central Md. Christian, Isaac Crone 19-91, Zach Cote 9-99, Brady Ripple 4-37, Brandon Winder 2-(minus 1); Saint James, Justin Pank 18-168, Noah Cisse, 16-103, Sherman Harris 1-7, Garrett Blank 1-4, team-(minus 5).
PASSING—Central Md. Christian, Isaac Crone 2-7-15-1; Saint James, Garrett Blank 4-14-87-0.
RECEIVING—Central Md. Christian, Zach Weaver 1-15, Brady Ripple 1-0; Saint James, Sherman Harris 2-67, Cole Menas 1-13,  Noah Cisse 1-8.

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