By Jeff Nelson
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, September 24, 2006
As Jelani Jenkins ran up and down the fields of his youth leagues years ago, his father, Maurice, ran up and down the sideline, always yelling and screaming and hollering, always with the same essential message: "They can't stop you, Jelani."
Now a sophomore fullback at Good Counsel, the younger Jenkins still remembers those words.
"It just came to a point that I started believing it," he said.
Jenkins left no doubt yesterday, scoring a one-yard touchdown with less than four minutes left and running in the two-point conversion to give the 10th-ranked Falcons a 14-13 road win over No. 7 St. John's.
"I just thought to myself, 'I'm gonna get this,' " said Jenkins, who finished with 52 yards on 11 carries. "I didn't even think of a way I wouldn't get in. . . . It was all or nothing."
For much of the game, the offenses were sluggish. St. John's only meaningful play in the first half came on its first series, when quarterback Josh Johnson threw a lateral to backup quarterback Gerald Moore, who fired to tight end Tony Tucker for a 54-yard score. The extra-point kick attempt failed.
Good Counsel's defense put the Falcons on the scoreboard when Jenkins returned an interception 25 yards for a second-quarter touchdown. The score was tied at 6 after the extra-point attempt missed. That turn in momentum still couldn't jump-start the Falcons' offense, however, and when Antwon Bailey scored on a four-yard run for the Cadets in the third quarter, Good Counsel's seven-point deficit seeming daunting.
The Falcons' defense and special teams came to the rescue, providing the offense with the ball at St. John's 35-yard line after a punt with 8 minutes 30 seconds left in the game. Running back Chris Daley did most of the work to get Good Counsel close to the end zone, and then the 6-foot, 185-pound Jenkins capped the drive.
After St. John's was flagged for a personal foul on the touchdown, Falcons Coach Bob Milloy made the decision to go for the win.
"If we can't run off-tackle and get a yard and a half with the game on the line, we don't deserve to win," he said.
No. 10 Good Counsel 14, No. 7 St. John's 13 The Streak Lives: Good Counsel has beaten St. John's five years in a row during the regular season. Yesterday's game was closer than the previous two, which the Falcons won by a combined 71-6. Getting Picky: Good Counsel intercepted four passes, including two by Kendall Haley and one by Collin Stevens, who made his with less than two minutes left at the Falcons 10-yard line to seal the game.