BALTIMORE, MD – After two weather delays totaling nearly 90 minutes, 11 combined rushing touchdowns, nearly 600 rushing yards and more than 900 yards of total offense, Friday’s showdown between 10th-ranked Johns Hopkins (7-0, 6-0 Centennial) and visiting Gettysburg was sealed by a defensive touchdown.
Senior linebacker Taylor Maciow returned a Kody Smith fumble 42 yards for a touchdown with 4:51 remaining in the fourth quarter to cap a 21-point run that turned a 35-28 deficit into a 49-35 victory for the Blue Jays.
Gettysburg (5-2, 4-2 Centennial) took the 35-28 lead early in the fourth quarter when Ted Delia scored on a one-yard run to finish off a 12-play, 78-yard drive that took just 3:13. It was the fourth Gettysburg scoring drive that covered more than 75 yards, but it would be the last time the Bullets would find the end zone.
Johns Hopkins needed just two plays and 38 seconds to answer as senior Jonathan Rigaud raced 63 yards up the middle on the Blue Jays’ second play of the ensuing possession to force the fifth and final tie of the game.
The Johns Hopkins defense came up with the stop it needed after Rigaud’s touchdown and the Blue Jays took over at their own 28 with just over 12 minutes remaining.
The Blue Jays worked their way to the Gettysburg three-yard line, where Matey pushed his way into the end zone to give JHU a 42-35 lead midway through the final quarter. The touchdown was Matey’s third of the game.
The Bullets took over at their own 15 and worked their way out to the 38, but Smith fumbled as he scrambled and the loose ball popped right into Maciow’s hands. He raced 42 yards untouched down the sideline to seal Hopkins’ 21st consecutive regular season victory and 18th consecutive Centennial Conference win.
The Bullets took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter as they turned a Drew Olsen interception into the first scoring drive of the game. Olsen returned his interception 27 yards to the Blue Jay 28 and Smith went in from two yards out five plays later to give GC the early seven-point lead.
The Blue Jays then scored twice in a span of two minutes to turn the seven-point deficit into a seven-point lead after JD Abbott and Matey scored on short runs to make it 14-7.
Abbott capped a 10-play, 58-yard drive late in the first quarter with a one-yard run, and Matey’s five-yard score on a quarterback keeper on the first play of the second quarter gave the Blue Jays their first lead of the game.
The Bullets answered with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that Smith polished off with a nine-yard run through traffic to tie the game. The Bullets converted three third-down plays on the drive with Smith’s 37-yard pass to Matt Brophy a key play in the scoring drive.
The second of the two weather delays came less than five minutes after Smith’s touchdown and with Hopkins sitting at the Gettysburg seven-yard line. Two plays after the game resumed, Matey scored from five yards out to give JHU a 21-14 lead.
The Bullets then moved 75 yards on nine plays with Delia going over from the three to knot the game at 21 heading into halftime.
After stopping the Bullets on their first possession of the second half, the Blue Jays moved deep into Gettysburg territory on their first drive, but Matey misfired on a fourth-and-three attempt to Scott Cremens and the Bullets took over at their own 11.
Smith proceeded to go 6-for-6 for 39 yards to fuel a 13-play, 89-yard drive that ate just over four minutes off the clock and was capped by a three-yard scoring run by James O’Rourke.
Now faced with their second deficit of the game, the Blue Jay offense responded with a 12-play, 72-yard drive that took 4:12 off the clock and was capped by two-yard Abbott touchdown to knot the game at 28. Matey was 4-of-4 on the drive for 32 yards and fired a 17-yard strike to junior Dan Wodicka on a crucial third-and-12 from the Gettysburg 23 to set up Abbott’s second touchdown of the game.
Delia’s one-yard touchdown run followed on Gettysburg’s ensuing possession to give the Bullets the 35-28 lead. That set the stage for Hopkins’ late-game run, which Maciow capped with his fumble return late in the fourth quarter.
Rigaud led a 372-yard rushing effort for the Blue Jays as he rushed 21 times for a career-high 210 yards and the one touchdown, while Abbott added 107 yards and the two scores. Rigaud’s 210 yards are also the 10th-highest single-game total in school history.
Matey was 22-of-33 for 127 yards and also rushed 16 times for 59 yards and the three scores. He is the first Johns Hopkins quarterback to rush for more than one touchdown in a game since George Merrell had two against McDaniel in 2002. Wodicka was on the back end of 12 of Matey’s completions, while Bob D’Orazio added eight receptions.
Smith was spectacular in defeat for the Bullets as he rushed 17 times for 83 yards and two touchdowns and was 20-of-36 for 197 yards on the night. Delia rushed 24 times for 100 yards and the two scores.
Maciow and fellow senior Adam Schweyer paced the Blue Jays with nine tackles each. Schweyer counted one of JHU’s two sacks among his nine stops, while Maciow added the fumble return for a score to his stat line.
Larry DelViscio totaled a game-high 17 tackles and Kodie McNamara added 16 for the Bullet defense, which forced two turnovers and generated three sacks, but surrendered 499 yards of total offense and couldn’t get off the field down the stretch as the Blue Jays were 10-of-15 on third-down opportunities and controlled the clock for just over 34 minutes.
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