Player of the Week
Minutes after Calvert Hall quarterback Thomas Stuart led his team to a 34-17 victory over Loyola at Towson's Johnny Unitas Stadium, he exited the locker room with a bronze football-shaped trophy tucked under his arm. It may not have been the MIAA A-Conference championship trophy he and his team coveted (the Cardinals lost the title game to Gilman, 34-32, in double overtime the week before), but the Cardinals made sure they went out winners in the 92nd Turkey Bowl.
"We didn't win the [MIAA A Conference] trophy, but, hey at least we got this [Turkey Bowl trophy]," said a smiling Stuart, who threw for a state-high 252 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 31 rushing yards last week. "Losing to Gilman left us heartbroken, but it just says so much about our team and our coaches that we were able to respond like this.
"All week we got calls from alumni telling us how important it was to beat Loyola, so we knew this game was bigger than just us," Stuart continued. "Then before the game, all the seniors came together in the locker room and we said we were leaving it all on the field; we didn't want to go out with a loss."
The senior Stuart wasn't about to let that happen. Every time Loyola tried to inch back in the game, the Calvert Hall quarterback responded with a series of pinpoint throws. He's led four fourth-quarter comebacks this year - once against Red Lion, twice against McDonogh and finally to force overtime against Gilman -- so holding off a pesky Dons team was nothing he couldn't handle.
"Tommie means so much to our team," said senior running back CJ Williams. "He's a leader, he makes plays in crunch time and he just always gets the job done. You can't ask for anything more from a quarterback."
Loyola jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead on their first possession, but it was short-lived. Stuart took the reins and immediately led a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive by completing five straight passes and peppering three different receivers. He hit CJ Williams twice for 22 yards, Delando Johnson twice for 27 and Trevor Williams once for 6. Then, with the ball at the Loyola 10-yard line, he used his legs to take the ball down to the 2, where Cole Atkinson finished off the drive.
"We knew they could be dangerous if they had momentum," Stuart said. "So we knew we had to come down and get a score. That was big."
After the CHC defense forced a three-and-out, Stuart went right back to work, completing 5 of 6 passes and rushing three times for 15 yards. With the ball inside the red zone he hit 'back Brandon Neverdon for a 13-yard score.
But Loyola wasn't about to go quietly. Immediately following Neverdon's touchdown, the Dons' Jake Clise broke free for a 60-yard score to draw within 14-10. No matter. Stuart calmly connected with three more receivers, including a 24-yard strike to Logan Kurek, a 15-yard bullet to Trevor Williams and a 12-yarder to CJ Williams that set CHC up at the Loyola 1. CJ Williams capped the drive by plunging over the goal line.
"Give Loyola credit, they kept coming back," CJ Williams said. "But we're used to being in tight games and responding [with scores]."
The game stayed 21-10 until the second half, but Loyola came back for a third time. This time Ryan Black raced in to cut the Cardinals' lead to 21-17.
The Dons had the momentum, but, right on cue, Stuart answered yet again. Starting from his own 20, he found Trevor Williams three times: for 19 yards on an out, 13 yards on a slant and 34 yards on an out-and-up. The latter pass went for a touchdown, effectively icing the game.
"Trevor looked over at me before the play and I saw he had one-on-one coverage," Stuart said of the touchdown pass. "But there were only about four Loyola defenders in the box, so I kind of faked a QB draw, which drew the safety up. That meant Trevor was free on the outside. He was able to get behind his man and then he made a great catch."
The touchdown reception capped off a 10-catch, 123-yard day for Trevor Williams, who has been Stuart's go-to target all year. The West Virginia-bound senior has over 100 receptions on the season.
"Tommie is a great quarterback. He puts the ball right on the money every time," Trevor Williams said. "Without Tommie and the line, I wouldn't have any catches. Tommie just has so much heart, determination and will."
Stuart, who transferred from Good Counsel after his sophomore year, ends his two-year Calvert Hall career with over 4,000 passing yards. This season he threw for 2,620 yards, rushed for 192 more and scored 33 touchdowns compared to only six interceptions.
"It's just been a great experience for me at Calvert Hall," Stuart said. "I've loved every second I've been here."
Note: Since we like to give the Player of the Week award to different players and different teams each week, we chose not to go with Old Mill's Rob Chesson two weeks in a row, even though he did rush for 312 yards and seven touchdowns
Top Performers (Offense)
Rob Chesson, RB, Old Mill: 312 yards, 7 TDs
Thomas Stuart, QB, Calvert Hall: 252 yards, 2 TDs; 31 rushing yards
Trevor Williams, WR, Calvert Hall: 10 receptions, 123 yards, TD
Jake Clise, QB, Loyola: 134 rushing yards, TD
Taitor Reynolds, QB, Douglass: 120 yards
Emmanuel Smith, RB, Douglass: 168 yards, 2 TDs
Josef Hinnant, RB, Douglass: 132 yards, TD
Paul Harris, WR, Douglass: 8 receptions, 90 yards
Ben Goodrich, QB, Kent Island: 111 yards
Kyle Boone, RB, Kent Island: 152 yards
Raamah Vaughn, QB, River Hill: 115 total yards, 4 TDs
Aaron Wells, RB, River Hill: 104 yards
Evan Griffin, RB, River Hill: 98 yards, 2 TDs
Deontay McManus, ATH, Dunbar: 167 total yards, TD
William Crest, QB, Dunbar: 126 yards, 2 TDs
Mark Green, RB, Old Mill: 276 yards, 2 TDs
Billy Plante, QB, Old Mill: 176 yards, TD
Tyrell Williams, RB, Old Mill: 6 receptions, 142 yards, TD
Jon Holland, QB, Flowers: 113 yards, TD
Edwin Walker, RB, Flowers: 125 yards, TD
Mike Pritts, QB, Middletown: 224 total yards, 4 TDs
Ben Lewis, WR, Middletown: 4 receptions, 116 yards
Brandan Berney, RB, Thomas Johnson: 127 yards
Davonte Fletcher, RB, Huntingtown: 114 yards
Gabe Sherrod, QB, Perryville: 153 yards; 51 rushing yards, 2 TDs
Dylan Clay, RB, Fort Hill: 116 yards, TD