Before this season began, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference's coaches picked the league's newest member, Catholic University, to win the title. The Cardinals are living up to that prediction, and doing so in impressive fashion.
Catholic strengthened its hold on first place in the conference with a 42-19 victory over defending ODAC champion and previously second-place Emory & Henry yesterday at DuFour Field.
The Cardinals (7-1, 4-0 in the ODAC; No. 13 in Division III) can clinch the ODAC title, and the automatic NCAA tournament bid that goes with it, by winning one of their remaining two games--at Guilford and at Bridgewater. Randolph-Macon is the only team with one loss in ODAC play, but that loss was to Catholic, so the Cardinals would win a tiebreaker.
Emory & Henry dropped to 5-3, 3-2.
"This is what we set our sights on, getting through Emory & Henry," said Catholic Coach Tom Clark, whose team has made the NCAA tournament each of the past two seasons and has lost only its season opener against John Carroll this year. "I think it puts us in a great position."
Yesterday's game featured the longest touchdown run in Catholic history, an 87-yarder by sophomore Dan Boyle in the fourth quarter that gave the Cardinals a 42-7 lead. Senior Andrew Notarfrancesco, one of 10 seniors playing his last regular season home game, had 165 yards rushing on 25 carries and scored three touchdowns.
Catholic's defense limited the Wasps to 52 yards rushing, including only 36 by senior Oliver Jordan, who was last season's ODAC player of the year.
The Cardinals jumped to a 21-0 lead, after two touchdown runs by Notarfrancesco and senior wide receiver Mike Hunter's touchdown pass to Brad Jones.
"Growing up I always wanted to be a quarterback, but my coaches never let me," said Hunter, a graduate of Gonzaga High School. "A lot of our trick plays aren't tricks, because we do them so much. . . . I'm not going to say we're unstoppable, but it's hard to stop us when we're on our game."
GEORGETOWN 21, FAIRFIELD 14: At Kehoe Field, J.J. Mont threw two scoring passes and Rob Belli rushed for a touchdown. Fairfield (6-2) entered the game averaging 35 points and 470 yards per game. But the Stags were held to 301 yards by the Hoyas (7-1).
BOWIE ST. 40, FAYETTEVILLE ST. 21: The Bulldogs compiled 503 yards of total offense on their way to the homecoming victory. T-Wuan Prather rushed 15 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns to help Bowie State raise its record to 5-3 overall, 4-2 in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Fayetteville State is 1-8, 1-5.
MONTGOMERY-ROCKVILLE 35, HARGRAVE PREP 34: The Knights scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to defeat Hargrave in Chatham, Va. Montgomery-Rockville (8-1) quarterback Pat Cilento (Sherwood) finished 17 for 36 for 358 yards and three touchdowns.