The St. John’s Cadets came from behind to defeat rival Gonzaga 32-28 on Saturday night in what can only be described as an instant classic.
The Eagles imposed their will early. Running behind a dominant offensive line, Gonzaga marched the ball down the field on its opening drive before capping it off with a 10-yard Malcolm Terry touchdown run.
Early in the second quarter, Caleb Williams punched in the first of his three scores to give Gonzaga a commanding 14-0 lead.
But with its back against the wall, St. John’s got the spark it desperately needed. Sophomore Jamar Curtis took a shotgun handoff, made one cut and out-ran Gonzaga defenders for a 63-yard touchdown.
Caleb Williams and the Cadets’ Colby McDonald would exchange scores, making it 21-14 Eagles at the half.
Gonzaga would extend its lead in the third. Just as they did to start the game, the Eagles methodically moved the ball down the field, culminating in a Williams quarterback sneak.
The touchdown gave Gonzaga a 28-17 lead entering the fourth. They would not score again.
That's when the Cadets began their feverish comeback. Sparked by a Sol-Jay Maiava scamper, St. John’s moved into scoring position. Seconds later, running back Antwain Littleton found pay dirt from seven yards out with just under eight minutes remaining. His 2-point conversion cut the lead to 28-25.
Following a crucial stop by the St. John’s defense, the Cadets got the ball back with an opportunity to win the game.
On third and 6 from midfield with 2:46 remaining, Gonzaga brought a blitz off the left edge. Recognizing he needed to get the ball out of his hand quickly, Maiava found McDonald in the flat. McDonald made one man miss, accelerated and, with the help of a downfield block by wide receiver Josh Gary, took the pass 56 yards for what would be the game-winning touchdown.
With the victory, the Cadets sweep the WCAC regular season and secure the No. 1 seed for the playoffs. They will face DeMatha next week.
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