Mike Hubert's 84-yard interception return at the start of the fourth quarter broke open a scoreless game and led Catholic to a 13-6 victory at Georgetown in the fourth annual Steven P. Dean memorial game yesterday.
The battle between the Division III rivals from opposite sides of the city seemed destined to end scoreless -- the Hoyas unable to score, the Cardinals unwilling.
But with 13:25 to play, Georgetown had a second down on the Catholic 16 and quarterback Bob Gerard rolled left, looking for a receiver over the middle.
As he cocked his arm, Gerard was hit by tackle Rich Ilchert and the ball popped into the hands of Hubert, who raced down the sideline.
"Our defense just rose up and made the big play . . . again," Hubert said, searching for an explanation. "We have the No. 1 defense in the country and we showed it."
Catholic made it 13-0 with 1:40 remaining when running back Jim Mills scored from one yard out. Linebacker Bob Fontana set up the score by intercepting on the Hoya 19.
Jim Corcoran ran the ensuing kickoff 87 yards down the left side for a touchdown and the Hoyas attempted an unseccessful onside kick. Catholic ran out the clock.
Reviews of the emotional game were left to one's point of view.
"This should have been a scoreless game," Hoya running back Rick Federico said, looking down at the ice pack on his thigh.
"This game should have been much more lopsided," ecstatic Catholic quarterback Steve Stanislav said.
In the first three quarters Georgetown mounted virtually no offense while Catholic repeatedly squandered good field position with fumbles and penalties.
In the first half, the Hoyas gained 13 yards and did not come within four yards of a first down.
"I knew they weren't going to move on our defense," Catholic Coach Joe Pascale said. Despite this knowledge, Pascale promised his defensive players he would shave his head if they shut out the Hoyas.
Meanwhile, the Hoya defense was similarly spectacular, shutting off Catholic deep in Georgetown territory throughout the game.
"I was very impressed with our defense," Hoya Coach Scotty Glacken said. "They were on the field a lot and held them down every time."
The intensity of the rivalry continued after the game. Pascale said his offense was slowed by what he considered "the worst playing conditions we've had all year. The AstroTurf was like a sponge from the rain and that made the balls so wet they were too heavy to throw. Stanislav is a great thrower and he just couldn't today."
"The field had nothing to do with the outcome," said Glacken. "With all that rain, I can't imagine a better place to play than on our AstroTurf."
Corcoran, who got his ninth interception of the season in the third quarter, said, "If Catholic threw we'd have picked them off 10 times."
At the same time, Gerard felt the Hoyas should have thrown more. "They blitzed so much and that's pretty risky," he said. "They're pretty tough against the run. But really, it was just a few bad breaks that hurt us."
Catholic didn't see it that way.
"We really could have blown them out if we didn't fumble so many times in the first half," Pascale said.
Stanislav, trying to get as far under Georgetown's skin as possible, said, "We should have beat them worse than we beat Duquesne."
Catholic beat Duquesne, 36-0.