It was a fitting performance on senior day and sends Georgetown (8-2, 3-1 Patriot League) into next week’s crucial game at Lehigh on a five-game winning streak. If the Hoyas prevail in Bethlehem, Pa. — and end a 10-game drought against the Mountain Hawks — they’ll claim the school’s first league title and a berth in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, just two years after suffering through a winless season.
“To turn things around like this, it’s everything we wanted to do as a class coming in,” said Darby, a senior.
Saturday’s victory began with a ceremony to honor the Hoyas’ 21 seniors before a crowd of 2,237. It ended with Hoyas snapping a five-game losing streak to the Rams, completing their first perfect season at home in 13 years (4-0) and an assortment of other notable achievements, including:
●With 13 tackles, McCabe set the school’s single season record for tackles with 120. He also forced a fumble and intercepted a pass.
●The Hoyas have now scored 30 or more points five times this season, the most since the school returned to Division I in 1993. (For comparison’s sake, the team scored a total of 96 points in 2009.)
●Defensive end Andrew Schaetzke moved into second place on the school’s all-time sacks list with 281 / 2. He had 11 / 2 against the Rams to go along with seven tackles.
Georgetown raced out to 10-0 first-quarter lead, but found itself nursing a 13-6 edge early in the third quarter. But the Hoyas finally found breathing room when Darby connected with wide receiver Patrick Ryan on a 26-yard touchdown pass that put the Hoyas ahead 20-6. Darby (18 of 30 for 199 yards a touchdown) made his second start of the season in the place of junior Isaiah Kempf, who was nursing some minor bumps and bruises, according to Coach Kevin Kelly.
“He ran a very good route,” Darby said of Ryan. “He made it easy for me. I just threw it up there and he did the rest.”
The Rams (1-8) weren’t done. A one-yard run by Carlton Koonce capped a 10-play drive early in the fourth quarter that pulled the visitors back to within striking range, 20-13.
But that’s when Moore took over the game.
The speedy 5-foot-11, 175-pound junior returned the ensuing kickoff 73 yards to the Rams 26. Georgetown parlayed that prime field position into an 18-yard field goal by Brett Weiss, who stretched the lead to 23-13 with 12:20 remaining. Weiss has made his last nine field goal and 18 kicks overall, including extra points.
Moore then sealed the victory on the next Fordham drive when he picked off quarterback Ryan Higgins’s screen pass and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown.
“It was a great read,” said Moore, whose kick return and interception return both were the longest of the season for Georgetown. The receiver “was looking at me a bit too much.”
Kelly said: “That was a huge play and it just broke open the game.”
Despite yielding a season-high 446 total yards to the Rams (387 in the air), the Hoyas did precisely what they had hoped to accomplish: enter the most important week of preparation they’ve had since joining the Patriot League in 2001 with a win, and more important, with a healthy amount of confidence.
“We know what to expect — a great team,” Darby said of Lehigh, which defeated Holy Cross, 14-7, on Saturday. “We’re looking forward to the challenge. We’ll have them schemed up. They’ll have us schemed up. We’ll be playing for all the marbles. Couldn’t ask for anything more.”