LAUREL – In a battle that many thought would turn into a shootout by the end of the game, the final score actually came down to defensive stops on consecutive possessions for the St. Vincent Pallotti Panthers as the Avalon Knights were driving up the field. With many noted studs on the offensive side of […]
LAUREL – In a battle that many thought would turn into a shootout by the end of the game, the final score actually came down to defensive stops on consecutive possessions for the St. Vincent Pallotti Panthers as the Avalon Knights were driving up the field.
With many noted studs on the offensive side of the ball, including wide receiver Trevon Diggs, brother of former Maryland University standout Stefon Diggs, and wide receiver Mason Standard, Avalon is always expected to put up points.
However, despite the Knights’ offensive firepower, Pallotti standouts Jaret Patterson and Cam Sullivan-Brown stole the show by making plays on both sides of the ball to decide the contest. The two helped the Panthers beat the Knights, 22-20.
“We already knew what they were going to do,” Sullivan-Brown said. “We knew they were going to air it out, so we prepared for that.
“I knew I was going to have a challenge going up against Diggs. My teammates motivated me throughout the week and him having all the (college) offers motivated me to put him on straps. He had a touchdown, I’ll give him that. But he didn’t get the best of us.”
Diggs finished the game with seven catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Sullivan-Brown took the assignment of playing Diggs on the defensive end throughout the night and ended up intercepting two of Avalon quarterback Isaiah Robinson’s passes.
Still, even with Sullivan-Brown’s efforts on Diggs, it did not turn out to be an easy win for the Panthers.
Pallotti took a 6-0 lead when Sullivan-Brown hit fullback James Patterson in the back of the endzone for the opening touchdown. Avalon blocked the extra point attempt and responded swiftly to the Panthers’ score by driving up the field.
Avalon took a 7-6 lead in the second quarter on a drive in which it converted on fourth down twice. Daqwan Hill capped the 84-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run.
But Pallotti, nearing the end of the second quarter, scored again after quarterback Brandon Stewart found Sullivan-Brown from 27-yards out for a touchdown. The score gave the Panthers a 14-7 lead heading into the half.
Pallotti’s halftime lead was short-lived, as the Panthers allowed a 92-yard kickoff return to Jaron Woodyard to tie things up at 14.
“It definitely was not our best game,” Sullivan-Brown said. “We know we can beat anybody.”
Still, it was Sullivan-Brown and Jaret Patterson that came to Pallotti’s rescue. Early on in the third quarter, Patterson broke off a 62-yard run to get the Panthers just inches away from the goalline. On the next play, Patterson punched the ball in from one-yard out to regain the lead. He then ran in the two-point conversion, pushing Pallotti’s lead to 22-14.
Jaret Patterson finished the game with 126 yards rushing on 22 carries with two touchdowns. The credit for his performance, he said, should go to his offensive line.
“I knew (Avalon) was going to put eight in the box and I knew they were going to blitz,” Patterson said. “I just knew I had to make one person miss, and just run.”
Robinson, who finished the game 18-for-28 for 197 yards, orchestrated a drive up the field after Diggs converted another fourth down on a fake punt. Throughout the game, Avalon had three fourth-down conversions.
Sullivan-Brown came up big though, as he broke up a crucial pass with Avalon just outside the redzone on the Knights’ second to last possession of the game.
“We were supposed to be in man and nobody came out and I was supposed to have the first man out,” Sullivan-Brown said. “I just saw a man streaking down the field and I saw the quarterback’s eyes. So I just led him and broke it up.”
After a turnover on downs, Pallotti could not get anything started offensively. The Panthers were forced to punt and Avalon marched up the field once again after key receptions from Diggs and Standard. But at the end of the drive, Jaret Patterson, more known for his skills as a runner, made a play on defense.
Robinson targeted wideout Elijah Maith up the seam on the final play of the drive with Patterson tight on his hip. Maith took a step inside and Robinson threw the ball to him, but Patterson broke the pass up and effectively shut down Avalon’s chances of winning.
“People don’t know I play corner. I can cover,” Patterson said. “I knew he was going up the seam. I just saw it and broke on it.”
The win did not look pretty, Panthers Head Coach Ian Thomas said, but they will take it and move on learning from their mistakes.
“It was very sloppy. It was a sloppy effort, but they fought hard. They did what they needed to do to get the win,” Thomas said. “We made some mistakes, but we made up for it by making great plays.”
Pallotti 6 8 8 0 – 22
Avalon 0 7 7 6 – 20
P – Cam Sullivan-Brown 10-yard touchdown pass to James Patterson, 6-0
P – Jaret Patterson 8-yard touchdown run, 14-0
A – Daqwan Hill 4-yard touchdown run, 14-7
A – Jaron Woodyard 92-yard kick return, 14-14
P – Jaret Patterson 1-yard touchdown run, 22-0
A – Isaiah Robinson 6-yard touchdown pass to Trevon Diggs, 22-20