Jeremy Hirsch is in his third year starting at outside linebacker for Georgetown Prep. Last night, however, it was where Hirsch found himself on offense and special teams that helped the Little Hoyas to a 21-14 victory over eighth-ranked Good Counsel before 2,000 in Wheaton.
Hirsch returned a blocked punt 31 yards for a touchdown for the game's first points. Then, early in the fourth quarter with the score tied, Hirsch entered on offense because the Little Hoyas' starting fullback was sidelined with cramps.
Georgetown Prep lined up in a new formation, a tailback to either side of Hirsch. And when Hirsch burst through the line of scrimmage, he was hit but continued for the decisive 18-yard touchdown run.
"I think the linebacker didn't know I had the ball," Hirsch said.
Ryan Shuler's interception with two minutes left ended Good Counsel's final chance, and shortly thereafter the Little Hoyas dumped a bucket of water on Coach Dan Paro.
"The game obviously meant an awful lot to some of the kids on the team, you know what I mean?" Paro said. "They've grown up together. [But] I wasn't happy when the water came. Act like you've been there before."
This season is new territory for Georgetown Prep, which was kicked out of the Interstate Athletic Conference after going 4-6 last season and subsequently joined the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association's A Conference. Unofficially, after beating Gonzaga to open the season, the Little Hoyas are 2-0 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
The Little Hoyas were not flashy but were solid on defense, creating three turnovers and making a handful of big plays, usually by Shuler.
It was Shuler who came in from the right to block the punt Hirsch returned for a 7-0 lead in the second quarter. Then, after Good Counsel drove for nearly 81/2 minutes and took a 14-7 lead in the third quarter, it was Shuler who turned a short pass into a 33-yard gain to the 7-yard line. On fourth and goal from the 1, Marcus Dowtin got into the end zone to tie the game at 14.
Dowtin recovered a fumble on the next play from scrimmage. On the following play, Hirsch looked like a natural, getting through the line, bouncing off a defender and scoring.
It was a disappointing loss for Good Counsel (1-2), which started the season ranked No. 1 amid high expectations, with a talented roster coming off an undefeated regular season in 2004. Instead, the Falcons switched quarterbacks this week -- last season's junior varsity starter, Zachary Ingle, played last night -- but remain searching for offensive consistency
"Obviously, we're not the number one team," Coach Bob Milloy said. "No question the ranking hurt us a little bit. And the college attention, I can't say has been real positive for our players. There's a lot of distractions."