BALTIMORE, Md. — It’s not the title game most expected.
Expectations don’t win championships.
McDonogh faces Calvert Hall on Saturday in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association ‘A’ Conference final.
The Eagles upset previously unbeaten Spalding 7-0 to earn their spot in the tomorrow’s tilt.
"I told our offense in the beginning of the game if we score a touchdown we’re going to win the game. I was very confident in our defense," said McDonogh defensive end Dani Dennis-Sutton. "The past two games before the Spalding game we had two shutouts. So, I was confident that if we just score one touchdown that we were going to win the game and that’s pretty much what we did."
McDonogh turned its season around about a month ago. They’re on a four-game win streak after starting the season 2-5. They didn’t play at all in 2020.
"All year, even throughout the struggles, I told the team championships are won in November. Not August, September or October. Once we got into the end of October, early November, you could see the tide starting to turn into our favor and guys really responded well," said McDonogh head coach Hakeem Sule.
"I can’t even explain how excited I am," said McDonogh quarterback Preston Howard. "This year I feel like we got a lot to prove and we’re hungry this year. So, I’m real excited about this team playing in the championship game."
McDonogh is looking for its first conference title since 2014. Calvert Hall goes for its first since 2010.
"It feels great. Going to the championship, this is my first time I’m experiencing going to a high school championship, playing in it," said Cardinals cornerback Nigel Henderson.
"It’s very big. Just knowing all our competition that we beat, that we overcame. It’s just big, exciting," added Cardinals defensive back KP Price.
The Cardinals enter the matchup with an 8-2 record. They rallied to beat Mount St. Joseph 31-26 in the semifinal.
"We talk about it with our guys all the time. It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish," said Cardinals head coach Josh Ward. "[Mount St. Joseph] was 10-1. Everybody picked them to win the championship. We’re ready for this game on Saturday."
Calvert Hall topped McDonogh 24-7 back in September . Saturday's game kicks off at Noon at Spalding.
McDonogh is sure to leave everything out on the field. This will be their last game of the season. Meanwhile, Calvert Hall knows it will have one more game five days after Saturday's contest. They take on Loyola in the Turkey Bowl, on Thanksgiving morning.