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Calvert Hall outlasts Loyola in thrilling 102nd Turkey Bowl


A few Calvert Hall players made memories that will live on in their memory at the 102nd Turkey Bowl.

Ricardo Cooper ran 23 yards on a fake punt deep in his own territory late in the fourth quarter for an unlikely first down.

Calvert Hall coach Josh Ward celebrates with his team after beating Loyola Blakefield. (John Strohsacker / Special for Catholic Review)

It led to a 33-yard field goal by Dylan Manna with 1 minute and 34 seconds left, and the Cardinals edged Loyola Blakefield, 17-14, in front of a reported crowd of 8,529 at Johnny Unitas Stadium at the University of Towson on November 24. .

“I was very nervous with all the noise,” Manna said of the game-winning kick. “I will remember it all my life and I will brag about it too.”

Calvert Hall avenged a loss last season in the Turkey Bowl, winning for 11e times in the last 13 games of the oldest Catholic school football series in the country.

Loyola leads the all-time series 50-44-8.

The Cardinals (7-6) were coming off a 34-10 loss to Archbishop Spalding in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference Championship game on Friday. Last year, the Cardinals won the Conference A title but lost to Loyola, 41-35, less than a week later for the first time since 2013.

Players and coaches at Calvert Hall talked about getting revenge after this setback and eventually pulled through.

The Dons (4-6) converted a key fourth-and-7 of 28 from the Cardinals midway through the third quarter on a pass from sophomore quarterback Brad Seiss to AJ Szymanski, who is committed to playing next season. in Maryland. Seiss then threw a 14-yard touchdown to Shane Elliott and Loyola had its first lead, 14-7.

The Cardinals responded on the ensuing practice with a 29-yard pass from Noah Braddock to Oliver Redd that tied the game, 14-14, with 1:28 left in the third quarter.

Loyola couldn’t convert a 43-yard field to regain the lead early in the fourth quarter.

Calvert Hall outlasts Loyola in thrilling 102nd Turkey Bowl
Calvert Hall kicker Dylan Manna is all smiles after his winning field goal. (John Strohsacker / Special for Catholic Review)

The Dons looked set for a solid position on the pitch before Cooper took the clearance snap and found a seam on the near sideline for the first down to set up Manna’s spot kick.

“I told them before I got there, ‘I’m running anyway. I don’t care how you block, I run regardless,” Cooper said. “I was looking at the sticks to see how close I was and got the first down.”

The Dons, however, didn’t go away and they converted a fourth down deep in their own territory on a 10-yard pass from Seiss to Marcus Hines. Loyola managed to drive the ball deep into Calvert Hall and faced a fourth-and-one of 16. However, running back Kendrick Worthington was bottled up by a gang of Calvert Hall defenders with no gain with 11 seconds remaining to return the ball. on the bottoms.

Calvert Hall took a knee and won the match.

“We are a tough group, we are brave, we try to play team ball,” Dons coach Anthony Zehyoue said. “The ending stunk. We were hoping to take the first down and fire another shot. It didn’t work that way. I am so proud of our efforts.

The Dons hadn’t played a regular season game since Nov. 4, when they beat Mount Zion Academy, 14-12. As a result, they had about three weeks to prepare for the Cardinals and were a game or two away from winning.

Calvert Hall defeated Loyola 300-246. The Cardinals, however, were penalized seven times for 87 yards, compared to four penalties for 20 yards for Loyola. Each team had 12 first downs.

Calvert Hall outlasts Loyola in thrilling 102nd Turkey Bowl
Loyola players celebrate a score in a narrow loss in the 102nd Turkey Bowl. (John Strohsacker / Special for Catholic Review)

“It’s emotional,” Calvert Hall coach Josh Ward said. “We had a tough first half and we went out and didn’t do what we had to do at the start of the second half. But our guys are resilient and have succeeded. We finished strong.

Calvert Hall faced a third-and-15 on their first possession and Braddock threw a 20-yard pass to Chris Hewitt. However, Calvert Hall racked up 32 penalty yards on that drive and was forced to punt.

Loyola’s Kendrick Worthington broke up a 30-yard run on the next possession. However, the Dons had an errant snap that went over Seiss’ head, and Calvert Hall’s DJ Ringgold recovered at Loyola’s 19.

That set up three straight points from Dawon Dorsey, who scored from 5 yards and Calvert Hall led 7-0 with 4:37 left in the first quarter.

After Cooper had an interception, Braddock then threw a 30-yard pass to Donnie Lewis on a third-and-6. However, Manna missed a 33-yard field goal attempt after the drive was blocked.

The Dons got a break when Andrew Duvall blocked a Calvert Hall punt that gave them the ball on the Cardinals’ 34. This set up a 5-yard run by Worthington that tied the game, 7-7, with just over a minute to go. the half.

It was the second straight year that Loyola blocked a punt in the Turkey Bowl that led to a touchdown.

The Cardinals beat the Dons 149-72 in the first half but got nearly 50 yards on penalties.

To see more photos from the 102nd Turkey Bowl, click below:

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