Archbishop Spalding football’s players knew no one expected much of them after the Cavaliers graduated most of their starting roster, let alone that they’d surpass the glory of last year’s team.
But five games and four wins into the season, no one could call what Spalding is doing a fluke. Call it magic.
Even when Calvert Hall had momentum and a chance to take away Spalding’s lead Friday night, the Cavaliers didn’t buckle. Instead, they turned up the effort on both defense and offense and routed the defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champions on their own turf, 42-7, in the Ravens RISE High School Football Showdown.
Sophomore quarterback Malik Washington wonders what it’ll take for folks to stop doubting Spalding.
“I love it,” he said. “We were supposed to lose to Gonzaga. We were supposed to have a close game with Broadneck. We were supposed to lose to Imhotep. We were supposed to lose this game. … I think everybody takes that personally. They think we can’t do enough, and then we go show them what we can do.”
When the Cardinals cut the score to 14-7 in the first half, the Cavaliers (5-1) responded and never gave Calvert Hall (2-3) another chance to get in the game.
Spalding, whose sole defeat is to nationally-ranked Don Bosco Prep out of New Jersey, preaches consistency to its young squad, no matter the situation. On Friday, coach Kyle Schmitt witnessed his defense embody that message.
Two Cavaliers, Paul Poknis and Tyler Brown, intercepted Calvert Hall quarterback Noah Brannock in key moments. Several others yanked the signal-caller down in the backfield. The defense forced Calvert Hall to turn the ball over on downs on their second drive, even as the Cardinals reached the 1-yard line. Early on, Calvert Hall had little trouble beating the Cavaliers’ defensive line, but by the end, could barely get a pass off.
“There’s no panic on our sideline because [defensive coordinator Tyrone Forby] knows what’s happening and he knows how to answer it,” Schmitt said. “And you gotta have a lot of answers when you play us on both sides of the ball.”
Schmitt’s teams have preferred to run the ball over the past decade, but with an arm like Washington’s, the coach finds his staff calling for the pass more often. The sophomore quarterback, already fielding scholarship offers from Maryland and Penn State, among others, entered Friday with 976 passing yards. He easily eclipsed 1,000 by the end of the first quarter.
“It’s something you look forward to as a kid, watching high school football,” Washington said. “Hitting that 1,000-yard mark definitely felt good.”
But Washington’s usual game plan didn’t come so easily at first.
Calvert Hall chose to double-team Max Moss, Washington’s favorite receiver who entered the week with close to 700 receiving yards in four games. But the Cavaliers have other weapons.
Running back Hakim Simms faced little interference from Calvert Hall in scoring two Spalding touchdowns and putting the hosts on their heels, 14-0, after one quarter.
“You can take something away, but …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment