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August 29, 2010FOLLOW RIVALSHIGH: Follow us on Twitter | Friend us on Facebook
As the game wore on - and St. Xavier maintained its one-touchdown lead over Good Counsel - two numbers figured to be in their favor: The size of their roster (more than double that of their opponenet) and the temperature in Ohio (92 degrees at game time) on a sunny Sunday.
As it turns out, the only number that mattered was on the stat sheet: Turnovers.
Olney (Md.) Good Counsel, No. 17 in the RivalsHigh Top 100, took advantage of six turnovers by No. 43 Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier to help produce three fourth-quarter touchdowns and come away with a 21-6 victory.
The victory was an impressive one for Maryland - going on the road to beat a powerful Ohio club. But Good Counsel coach Bob Milloy was more impressed with his defense.
"Our defense played great," he said on TV at the end of the game. "Our offense was embarrassing. But we'll get that corrected."
True, the defense did produce those six turnovers, but it was offense that gave the team the lead for good.
Trailing 6-0, Dorian O'Daniel put Good Counsel on the board when he scored on a 3-yard run. Kyle Hamby's point after gave Good Counsel a 7-6 lead.
Then the defense took over.
Michael Jefferson returned an interception for a 58-yard score to make it 14-6. Moments later, Stefon Diggs (who had an 83-yard punt return for a score called back earlier in the quarter) scored on a 50-yard interception return.
St. Xavier started strongly. After holding Good Counsel to a three-and-out, it produced a 70-yard scoring drive, capped by an 11-yard run by Conor Hundley. Sean Duggan's point-after attempt went wide right.
From there, Good Counsel dominated. And had it not had two touchdowns called back and a missed field goal, they result could have been worse - and decided earlier.
In other games involving Top 100 teams Sunday:
No. 91 Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller 35, Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne 28
Memo to coach John Rodenberg: Whatever you did with your team at halftime, do it again.
After looking slow and sluggish for much of the first half, Cincinnati (Ohio) Moeller - ranked No. 91 in the RivalsHigh 100 - came out with a fire and passion after the break and scored 21 unanswered points to stun Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne, 35-28.
Moeller senior tailback Tucker Skove accounted for all five Moeller touchdowns - including the game-winning score on a leap over the pile from 1-yard out with five seconds remaining in the game - and finished with 220 yards.
But as much as the second half was dominated by Moeller, the first half was an offensive display by Wayne and its four-star quarterback and Ohio State commit Braxton Miller.
Miller scored the game's first touchdown on a 27-yard run, and then followed that up with a 75-yard run where he pump faked, tucked the ball and simply outran the Moeller defense to the end zone. After a 17-yard interception return by Darien Thorton for Wayne's third touchdown, Miller added a fourth - this time on a 21-yard run.
Wayne led 28-14 at the half and Miller had more than 200 yards. In the second half, he had just five and was sacked multiple times by a Moeller defense that suddenly showed some spark in getting off the line, putting pressure on the star quarterback.
Offensively, Moeller's comeback was rooted in both the legs of Skove and the arm of senior quarterback Charlie Fiessinger, who made several big throws to put his team in scoring position. While Fiessinger looked uneasy in the first half in his first varsity start and shared time under center with junior quarterback Spencer Iacovone, he looked poised and confident in the second half, stepping up into the pocket with a solid presence.
Fiessinger's 11-yard screen pass to Skove late in the third quarter tied the game at 28-28, before Skove's final game-winning dive.