Under the lights at Cardinal Stadium at Catholic University, St. John’s pulled away in the second half of their Homecoming game Friday night to beat conference rival Our Lady of Good Counsel (MD) 31-10.
Wide receivers Cam Ross ’19 and Rakim Jarrett ’20 each had two touchdowns and over 90 receiving yards on the night.
“It feels great,” Ross said in an interview for The Sabre’s Monday News. “We knew it was gonna be a tough battle, but…we just fight hard, and got the win.”
The game got off to a quick offensive start. Good Counsel RB Latrele Palmer drove the offense down the field in their opening drive, capping it off with a 2-yard touchdown run. On the ensuing drive, Ross took a screen pass 46 yards to tie it 7-7.
Good Counsel, who entered the game ranked No. 21 by USA Today, threatened on the next possession, eventually reaching first and goal at the 5-yard line. But the Cadets defense held up Palmer on three straight plays to hold the Falcons to only 3 points.
After responding with a field goal of their own, St. John’s looked to be threatening again towards the end of the half after a long kickoff return by junior defensive back Mordecai McDaniel. But Good Counsel cornerback Jason Scott intercepted an end zone pass by QB Sol-Jay Maiava ’20, leaving the halftime score at 10-10.
The Cadet offense was forced to punt on their next possession, but senior defensive back Aman Greenwood recovered a fumble that set up St. John’s at the Falcons’ 39-yard line. Held to a 4th-and-12 on the 27, Maiava scrambled out of the pocket, looking downfield.
“I was hoping he [Maiava] would see me, and he saw me,” Ross said of the play. “The ball was high…there was a small chance he [GC Safety Jalen McNair] would pick this.”
But McNair tipped the ball up, and Ross caught the deflection for his second touchdown.
“That’s football,” Head Coach John Casamento said after the game. “There’s a lot of close plays in a football game, and that was just another close play.”
Maiava laughed about it after the game. “Sometimes you get lucky, you know?” Maiava said.
Jarrett would score twice, one 15-yard reception and another for 42, to seal the game for the Cadets.
“I thought we played a great game,” Casamento said after the game. “Exceptional in the second half, but I thought we played a great game the whole game. Good Counsel’s a very good team, and it took a great effort to beat them.”
St. John’s, ranked No. 5 by USA Today coming into their second WCAC game, improved to 7-0. Their defense did not allow Good Counsel to score throughout the second half.
“Ain’t nothing new,” McDaniel said after the game. “We[‘re] a second half team. We have the best defense out here, WCAC, nation, all that.”
He attributed the win to physicality and discipline. “We know where to hit, we know what to do, and we pick each other up, we don’t bring each other down.”
Senior running back Keilan Robinson exited the game in the second half after aggravating a previous leg injury. Per The Washington Post, Robinson will have an MRI this week, a bye for the Cadets before their Oct. 26 game at DeMatha (MD).
“Keilan is a big aspect to the team,” Maiava said after the game. “Ron Cook had to step up, and he did a great job.”
Cook said the team trusted their own skill. “We know we’re a second half team, and we just kept pushing,” Cook said.
Ross had high praise for his team. “We knew we were going to be a great team,” he said to The Washington Post. “No. 1? I don’t know, but that is what we always strive for. We want to be national champions.”