St. John's cashed in on a fumble and scored a safety to hand Good Counsel a 10-7 loss in a Metro Conference game yesterday at St. John's.

After a scoreless first half, Good Counsel (2-2) broke the ice on a two-yard run by Nigel Garris with 5:19 left in the third quarter. The Falcons began the drive on their 13-yard line after a 57-yard punt by Cadets quarterback Kevin Gibbs. Then Garris took over, ripping into the Cadets secondary on runs of 12 and 20 yards.

Two personal fouls on the Cadets (3-1) kept the drive alive and helped put the Falcons in scoring position.

After stopping St. John's on the ensuing possession, the Falcons were in position to put the game out of reach, but fullback Shaun Fallon fumbled on his 42. The Cadets recovered and used a 25-yard reverse by wide receiver Kristian Yangas to get into scoring position.

Tailback Corey Smith took the ball inside the 5, and Gibbs ran it in on a two-yard keeper with 1:47 left in the third quarter. Gibbs also ran for the conversion to give the Cadets an 8-7 lead.

"The fumble recovery was definitely the key play for us," St. John's Coach John Ricca said. "We were flat in the first half and they took it to us in the third quarter.

"I'm happy we could come back when our backs were against the wall. We had a good touchdown drive and a two-point conversion when we needed it."

Good Counsel's first-year Coach Steve Ghent said that the fumble was not the deciding factor in the game. "I'm not going to emphasize one play," he said. "We missed a field goal and a couple of other opportunities in the first half. If we make that field goal, that's the ballgame."

Although the Cadets held Good Counsel to seven points, Ricca was not happy with his defense.

"Our defense didn't shut them down," he said. "They ate up the clock and had a couple of long drives.

"They didn't throw anything fancy at us; just up-the-middle, rock 'em, sock 'em football. We shouldn't have been fooled on those plays."

Garris, a senior running back, did most of the damage for the Falcons, gaining 154 yards on 15 carries.

With a one-point lead in the fourth quarter, St. John's defensive end Mike Brown, playing with a hip injury, sacked Vince Stofa in the end zone for a safety.