St. Mary’s junior quarterback Ali Barry threw two touchdown passes for the Spartans in a win over Somerset Berkley Saturday afternoon. (Item File Photo)
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SOMERSET — The St. Mary’s football team’s crazy week leading up to Saturday’s game ended up being for the best, as the Spartans closed out the shortened season with a 14-6 victory over Somerset Berkley on the road in a non-conference bout.
“It was a great win for us against a quality program, and I give our kids a lot of credit for bouncing back on such short notice and really coming to play,” said St. Mary’s coach Sean Driscoll. “We matched up well with them physically and we were able to make a number of quality plays on both sides to pull off the win.”
The Spartans’ originally scheduled game for this week — against Catholic Central League foe Austin Prep — was canceled Wednesday morning. The Spartans found a game against Diman shortly after — but then that game was canceled Thursday morning. Around noon that same day, St. Mary’s scheduled a game against Somerset Berkley, which was returning to action for the first time in two weeks. This isn’t the first time this has happened to the Spartans this season, as St. Mary’s has had games moved at the last minute and even had a game canceled the minute they showed up to the field.
“Honestly, it was such short notice that we just told the guys to line up and play their best,” said Driscoll. “We always thought there would be situations where things would happen this season, but we didn’t think it would be to this extent. I give a ton of credit to my guys for continuing to show up every day and work hard. We got six games in and had seven scheduled, so that’s a win in itself.”
Junior quarterback Ali Barry threw for one touchdown and ran for another in the victory for the Spartans, while David Brown Jr. added a touchdown reception. Kicker Michael Anderson added two extra points in the win.
The game started with a big defensive stop for the Spartans, who withstood an extended drive from Somerset Berkley to hold and get the ball back on their own seven-yard line. Although St. Mary’s didn’t get any points on the ensuing drive, the momentum remained with the Spartans.
Finally, St. Mary’s broke through just before halftime. With the clock ticking down in the second quarter, Barry connected with Jack Marks on a long pass to set the Spartans up on the goal line. Barry did the rest from there, punching in a one-yard touchdown to put St. Mary’s ahead 7-0.
Somerset Berkley came back with a touchdown early in the second half, but Barry and the Spartans offense responded. With a 14-yard touchdown pass from Barry to Brown, St. Mary’s held a 14-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Then the defense stepped up to close it out, as the group came up with a clutch goal-line stand with five minutes to play to get the ball back and seal the victory.
“I think over the past two weeks, our defensive play has really been the difference for us,” said Driscoll. “We let up some plays here and there, but the group never broke down and held on until the end. Guys on the defensive line like Jack Marks and Tommy Falasca really stepped up, and maybe the biggest play of the game was the fourth-down stop by Derick Coulanges that effectively sealed it for us.”
St. Mary’s finishes up the shortened season at 4-2. With a young squad and a number of key contributors set to return this fall, it’s an exciting time to be a Spartan.
“Even on the bus back home, some of the younger guys were excited about getting back to work with conditioning in a few weeks,” said Driscoll. “August will be here before we know it, and it’s great to see that our young group is excited. We built up a lot of experience this year, and hopefully we can take those lessons right into the next season.”