The stage was set for a memorable Saturday. Students had enjoyed Spirit Week and were excited for the Homecoming football game and dance. Graduates on fall break intended to come back to their alma mater and see friends and teachers, to go along with watching the team take on Sidwell Friends.
However, Mother Nature had different ideas. In a peculiar turn of events, a football game was postponed due to unplayable field conditions. The water had not yet drained from the field and the much-anticipated game was not to be; at least not on Saturday. It was re-scheduled for Columbus Day, and it took place at nearby Potomac High School which has a turf field.
The Wolves faced their second undefeated opponent in as many weeks. Last week, John Paul was unable to stop the attack of Fredericksburg Christian, and they were hoping to avoid a repeat on Monday afternoon.
Sidwell Friends got on the board first with a touchdown run by the monstrous Miles Brown who, literally and figuratively, ran over the Wolves all day long. However, it takes more than one player to win a game, so it was up to JP to figure out a way to stop him.
Brandon Perroots intercepted a Sidwell pass before the quarter ended, one of three Wolves’ interceptions on the day, but the ensuing drive did not amount to any points. The opening quarter saw the Wolves in an 8-0 hole.
Then with 8:06 to go in the second quarter, Michael Horan put John Paul on the scoreboard with a rushing touchdown of six yards. The extra point failed, so Sidwell still held an 8-6 advantage. About a minute and a half later, Joe Simms ran 18 yards for a go-ahead touchdown (pictured below). The Wolves tried and succeeded with a two point conversion and they had their first lead of the day at 14-8.
In the closing minute of the half, Sidwell answered. Brown (Number 10 in the pictures above) caught a 32 yard pass and also ran for the conversion, putting the Quakers back on top 16-14. As the John Paul Homecoming Court lined up for the halftime festivities that were postponed from Saturday, Sidwell led by those two points.
The Wolves scored the first points of the latter half of the contest on a touchdown by Horan, this time for 19 yards. Another conversion was tried but JP couldn’t get it across the goal-line, so it was now a four point difference in favor of the Wolves. Sidwell answered with a resounding 60 yard touchdown pass just a few minutes later, only to be followed up by a failed extra point. The scoreboard read 22-20 Sidwell. Under two minutes remained in the third quarter when Horan ran for his third touchdown of the afternoon. The see-saw scoreboard had flipped leaders again, and John Paul had taken over the lead at 26-22.
It was a tense final quarter of play, albeit with no scoring action until the end. Both sides traded possesions in an effort to either put the game on ice or, in Sidwell’s case, remain undefeated. Michael Foster vaulted the Wolves lead up to 10 with a rushing touchdown at the 3:09 mark. For the Quakers, it was now or never. They drove down the field and threw a 10 yard pass to bring the game back within reach at 33-30.
Both sides lined up for the decisive onside kick. It skipped along the turf right into the awaiting arms of a John Paul player, and the game was all but sealed. After a long run, the Wolves were content to run out the clock and put the first blemish on the record of Sidwell Friends.
While it was a high scoring game, offense was not the only factor of the day. Douglas Parker led the Wolves with 2.5 sacks accounting for 32 yards lost while applying constant pressure to Sidwell’s dangerous quarterback. He also added 7 tackles. Three other Wolves, including Michael Mancini, Kyle Moran, and Jack Cunningham, were apart of the five total sacks on the day. Joe Simms had the most tackles with 11, followed close behind by Chauncey Wallace who had nine.
Sidwell vastly outgained the Wolves through the air, with quarterback Ted Hefter going 24-37 for 342 yards and three touchdowns. However, JP had the advantage on the ground, with three rushers combining for 224 yards on 38 attempts.
The win moved John Paul’s mark to 5-2. This week, they travel to New Jersey to take on Northern Valley Regional. The next week they face Rappahannock before returning home against rival Bishop Ireton in their final home game of the season on November 1st. In the latest poll after this past week’s games, John Paul is tied for third place in the standings. Only the top four teams make it to the postseason, so it’s important that the Wolves keep winning in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.
*The URL address of this site has changed. It is now simply Johnpaulwolfpack.com, instead of Johnpaulwolfpack.wordpress.com*