Enterprise

The word that best describes the Cardinal Spellman High football team’s 22-20, double-overtime win over St. Mary’s (Lynn) is shocking.

It even surprised Spellman’s first-year coach Kahn Chace.

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Coming into the game, the Cardinals were 0-6 and the Spartans were 6-0. St. Mary’s was the top seed in the Division 6 power ratings while Spellman is already eliminated from playoff contention. When these two teams met for the first time on Sept. 10, the Spartans led 35-0 at half before coasting to a 42-8 win.

“The effort from the kids was not a surprise,” said Chace. “The end result, I’m not going to lie to you, it’s pretty surprising.

“It’s the best win I’ve ever been a part of in my life.”

All of those factors don’t take into consideration what happened on the field. 

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With 2:30 remaining, Spellman junior quarterback Jack Duffy tied the game at 14-14 on a 50-yard TD run with the help of downfield blocks from Matt O’Donnell and Zach McBrine. Duffy, who was 2-for-2 on point-after kicks, added the extra point.

Both teams failed to score in the first overtime before the Cardinals were dealt a big blow on St. Mary’s opening possession in the second overtime. On fourth-and-goal from the 25, the Spartans got some new life with a defensive pass interference call. They took advantage and scored on a fourth-and-goal from 10, but the Cardinals denied the 2-point try.

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Duffy tied the game with his third rushing TD of the day following the blocking of McBrine. On the winning 2-point conversion, Spellman called a QB option. When the defense collapsed on Duffy, he pitched the ball to Brian Gallagher for the winning score.

“The kids knew how big the 2-point conversion was and they didn’t quit,” said Chace. “They tried a tricky formation and we lined up perfectly for it and we stopped them. Once we stopped them there, I just gave the ball to our best player (Duffy) and told him to go win.”

Although Chace didn’t have the exact stats, he said Duffy had "a lot" of rushing yards. The QB also played outside linebacker.

“He’s a tough kid and he’s intelligent, he works hard, and he’s just so good at reading our option,” said Chace of Duffy. "That’s what’s really taken off on us.”

McBrine and Kenton Porte, both linebackers, played well defensively against St. Mary’s power-rushing attack. Tyler Hrenko and Jovi Romulus both had big games in the defensive secondary.

“The kids each week have put in a tremendous amount of work and their attitude has been great and as the season has gone on they’ve continued to get better and believe in the coaches,” said Chace. “So I felt something good was going to happen. As a coach, you didn’t think it was going to happen tonight.”

Chace said he noticed the momentum for his team start to shift in a 31-0 loss against Bishop Fenwick on Oct. 8. In that game, the Cardinals surrendered just three points in the second half. Last week, Spellman fell to Div. 2 Bishop Feehan in a competitive game, 17-0.

“Even though we lost the game, you would have thought last week that we won because of their confidence,” said Chace. “They could see the work they’re putting in and they could see their progress on film and in practice. All these kids needed was a little bit of confidence. The Fall II season (Spellman finished 1-4) kind of beat them down a little bit and now they have a little bit of confidence.”

The Cardinals close out the regular season at Arlington Catholic next Friday before the non-qualifier portion of the season begins.

“I think it’s a program-changing win,” said Chace. “We had a whole student section there. The kids in the school see that. They see that it’s possible. The kids on the field feel that it’s possible and I think that can carry us into the rest of the season, hopefully the offseason.”

Source : https://www.enterprisenews.com/story/sports/high-school/football/2021/10/22/cardinal-spellman-high-football-gets-first-win-shocking-upset-kahn-chace-st-marys-lynn/6143628001/

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