All season, DeMatha has dominated opponents with its running game, averaging nearly 300 yards and 37 points per game. All week long, Carroll spent a few extra hours practicing its run defense. The extra work paid off handsomely.

The Lions limited DeMatha to minus 17 yards rushing and stopped a desperate last second drive to earn a dramatic 9-3 triumph and win its third Metro Conference championship in the last five years before a standing-room-only crowd of 4,000 at Carroll.

"We won this one on heart," said Lions defensive tackle William Ulmer, who batted down three passes, was in on two sacks and helped the Lions hold DeMatha to a season-low 142 total yards. "DeMatha was bigger than we were and had boasted all week how they planned to come in here and beat us up.

"We knew the game would be won on the line and there were no holes for them to run through. We hoped they would pass."

DeMatha's huge offensive line, anchored by 280-pound Orlando Lowe, never did solve the Lions defense, forcing the Stags into a passing game.

"I was very surprised we couldn't run," said DeMatha quarterback Tracy Bergan, who completed only 12 of 27 passes for 155 yards, was sacked four times and had four passes blocked. "Very surprised."

The score was tied, 3-3, before the Lions came up with the play of the game. On fourth and 14 at the Stags 18, quarterback Marvin Graves threw a floating pass down the middle to Richard Dickens for a touchdown to move the Lions ahead, 9-3, with about 10 minutes left in the game.

But Carroll had to stop DeMatha's final three drives. An interception by Lions safety Milton Grant halted one march, a sack of Bergan stopped another and a total defensive effort in the last 90 seconds assured the victory.

Starting at the DeMatha 36, Bergan completed three short passes to move his team to the Lions 20 with 20 seconds left. He threw an incompletion before being sacked on the game's final play by Aaron Young.

"I play the quick end and it's my job to put on the big rush," said Young, who had two sacks. "I got around my man and got to {Bergan}."

After losing to Cathedral of Philadelphia, 20-6, in the second week of the season, Carroll (10-1) showed marked improvement each week, finally hitting top form with a stunning 34-0 win over McNamara last week. DeMatha (8-1-1) managed a 14-14 tie against McNamara and had a week off to prepare for the season finale against its arch-rival.

Carroll had little success offensively. Dickens was shut down and Graves couldn't get enough time to throw. He threw consecutive interceptions on tipped balls -- the second being caught by Jeff Gallman at the Carroll 39. A running play netted eight yards and a Bergan pass to Richard Punty was good for 29 yards to the Carroll 2. But only two seconds remained in the first half and Stags Coach Bill McGregor opted for the field goal.

Donald Moore's 19-yard try was perfect and the Stags led, 3-0.

Late in the third period, the Lions drove to the DeMatha 4 as Graves threw passes to Richard Johnson for 54 yards and Eric Hill for 25 yards. But the Stags held and Jason Francella tied the game at 3-3 with a 21-yard field goal.DeMatha (8-1-1) 0 3 0 0 3 Carroll (10-1)

0 0 3 6 9

D -- FG Moore 19

C -- FG Francella 21

C -- Dickens 18 pass from Graves (pass failed) McNAMARA 20 GOOD COUNSEL 10

DeBraie Meekins rushed 17 times for 91 yards and one touchdown to lead the Mustangs.

Good Counsel (4-7) 3 0 7 0 10 McNamara (7-3-1) 6 0 6 8 20

M -- Miller 31 pass from Auth (kick failed)

GC -- FG Vallone 30

M -- Somerville 43 punt return (run failed)

GC -- Moran 27 pass from McPhillips (Vallone kick)

M -- Meekins 1 run (Jones pass from Pierce)