Johns Hopkins wins, advances in NCAA Division III football playoffs
The “Yankee Stadium of Lacrosse” as Johns Hopkins’ Homewood Field has come to be known, may soon be looking for a secondary moniker. While the name has been well-earned over a century of spring seasons, the field’s fall occupants are rapidly building an enduring legacy of their own.
On Saturday, the sixth-ranked Johns Hopkins football team beat Rowan, 24-16, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament. It was the third time in six seasons that the Blue Jays have won a first-round tournament game.
The playoff road inevitably grows steeper as Johns Hopkins (11-0) heads north to Geneva, N.Y. to play the unbeaten Hobart Statesmen (11-0) this Saturday. Coincidentally, Hobart is also well-known for an outstanding lacrosse program. The last time the two faced each other on the gridiron was 48 years ago in 1966, with the Blue Jays earning a win.
Hobart beat Ithaca, 22-15,in its first round game Saturday to earn the matchup with Hopkins.
After taking a 14-10 lead into halftime, Blue Jays QB Braden Anderson showed himself a true field captain to start the third. The senior signal-caller drove the Blue Jays 65 yards on 10 plays in the opening possession of the second half. On the tenth play, he drilled sophomore Qunn Donaldson with an eight-yard strike to extend the lead to 21-10. It was Donaldson’s second touchdown catch of the day and he finished the afternoon with seven receptions for 105 yards. On the drive, Brandon Cherry, a former Boys’ Latin midfielder, rushed for 24 yards to keep the Blue Jays’ attack balanced and the Profs off-tempo.
Freshman Jamie Sullivan added a clutch kick when it mattered late in the third as he hit on a 39-yard field goal to finish a 10-play 64-yard drive.
Rowan scored late in the fourth, on a 10-yard pass from QB Bill McCarty to Warren Oliver with just 51 seconds left in the game. Hopkins blocked the extra point to keep the score at 24-16.
Cherry was part of the Hopkins’ “hands team” that handled the ensuing onside kick and he fell on the ball to seal the Blue Jays’ win.
Anderson was 27 of 36 for 286 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
“I’m really pleased with where we are right now and I couldn’t be more pleased with our guys,” coach Jim Margraff, who is the winningest coach in the history of Maryland collegiate football, said after the game.
Tom Flynn has contributed to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. He compiled the photo history, Baseball in Baltimore, in 2008 and has written one novel, Venable Park. Check out Tom’s journal at boxerjournal.com