Patrick Steele's Boys' Latin squad was clinging to a 25-20 lead over St. John's Catholic Prep late in the fourth quarter on Friday evening. The St. John's Vikings had just turned the ball over on downs deep inside their own territory, and the Lakers were set to put the game away. But every time they crossed the goal line, a penalty nullified the score.
Finally, with Boys' Latin backed up to the St. John's 30-yard line, Steele bust through. The senior running back followed his 225-pound fullback, Drew White, up the middle. He ran over two St. John's defenders and rumbled to the end zone. It was Steele's fifth touchdown on the night, and it gave the Lakers (4-0) a 32-20 victory.
"I was pretty amazed with myself," Steele said. "I never thought I'd get that many touchdowns, but all the praise goes to my fullback and the offensive line. And the defense did a great job holding St. John's and getting us the ball."
Other than extra points, Steele accounted for all the Boys' Latin scoring. His career- high five touchdowns were more than any other player in Maryland last week. And his career-high 258 rushing yards ranked second only to Bishop McNamara's Hannibal Robinson (317 yards).
"Patrick Steele is a beast," said Boys' Latin coach Ritchie Schell.
Unlike most career days, Steele's performance didn't come out of nowhere. The 6-foot, 205-pound bruiser has been eating up chunks of yardage all year. He's rushed for over 200 yards three times, giving him 843 total on the season. He's currently third in the state in rushing and first in total touchdowns with 11.
"The season has just been unreal so far," Steele said. "Everybody came in ready to go and we've all worked hard."
Boys' Latin came into Friday's game in Frederick ready to ram the ball down the Vikings' throats. After St. John's took an 8-0 lead on a Lamont Wims 55-yard run, Steele began carving out his career day. On the Lakers' second possession, Steele capped off a long drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed and Boys' Latin still trailed 8-6. But in the second quarter Steele put his team on top with a 1-yard plunge.
The Vikings yanked the lead back on a touchdown pass, but once again Steele and the Lakers answered. This time, instead of banging the ball in, Boys' Latin called for a pass play at the 5-yard line. It caught St. John's off guard.
"They threw me a swing pass to the left and no body was out there," Steele said. "It was just bad coverage and I walked into the end zone."
Steele's first touchdown catch put Boys' Latin up 19-14 at halftime. In the third quarter, Steele tacked on a fourth score with an off-tackle run from the 10. St. John's scored to cut their deficit to five, but Steele iced the game with his big 30-yard run late in the fourth quarter. It was Steele's longest run of the day.
"I didn't have a lot of big runs," Steele said. "It was just a whole bunch of 8-yard runs, 10-yard runs over and over again."
Steele is penciled in as a running back, but his style is more like a fullback. He's a straight-ahead, downhill runner known more for his leg drive then his speed. Steele can barely crack the 5.0 mark in the 40-yard dash.
"I'm not very fast; I guess that's a nice way to put it," Steele said. "I'm powerful. No speed, no moves, no fancy jukes."
Who needs speed and moves when you're closing in on 1,000 yards? At this rate, Steele might hit 2,000 by season's end. Is it possible?
"Maybe," Steele said. "The tougher games are coming up in the second half. But it doesn't matter what I do. I just want to help my team win a championship."
Others Receiving Consideration:
Kalvin Seamonson (QB) Atholton: 302 passing yards, three touchdown passes and one touchdown run.
Kyle Clise (QB) St. Frances: 300 passing yards, three touchdowns
Cameron Wann (QB) Patterson Mill: 271 passing yards, three touchdowns
Hannibal Robinson (RB) Bishop McNamara: 317 rushing yards, two touchdowns
Ben Sasu (RB) Quince Orchard: 256 rushing yards, tree touchdowns
Kwabena Asante (RB) Blake: 249 rushing yards, four touchdowns
Marcus Coker (RB) DeMatha: 246 rushing yards, three touchdowns
Matt Robinson (WR) Atholton: eight catches for 170 yards, one touchdown
Ivan Tagoe (WR) Paint Branch: six catches for 120 yards, one touchdown