Just before halftime, Gonzaga defensive back Joe Zuccari found himself defending a short bubble screen against a Prep wide receiver. The ball arrived on time, enabling the receiver to turn and run upfield. One on one with no other players in the immediate area, Zuccari anticipated a potentially touchdown-saving tackle with the ball on his team’s 18-yard line. Instead, the junior defensive back found himself reaching into the air to retrive the juggled pass and scampering his way 82 yards into an endzone adjacent to a sea of Gonzaga students lavished in purple, jumping and hollering at his every step.
That was Zuccari’s second interception of the game, this one preventing any momentum Prep looked to establish before the intermission. It would also set the tone that led to the Eagles’ second consecutive shut out victory of the young season.
“I was just doing my reads,” Zuccari said postgame. “He’s doing a little bubble, he caught it, then he bobbled it a little, you know? And the ball popped up. I just took it and ran.”
Despite two penalties and a near-turnover, the Eagles (3-0, 0-0 in WCAC) advanced the ball down the field on their opening drive, as Sam Brown connected with Max Fisher from nine yards out. Brown and his offense played efficiently, dominating the battle in the trenches and scoring three touchdowns against Prep’s revamped defensive line, with two of them coming from the game’s MVP, Tyree Randolph.
The Little Hoyas (2-1, 0-0 in IAC) still only trailed 14-0 at halftime, a deficit not insurmountable by any measures, but one hard to combat against a strong showing from Gonzaga’s defense.
“It was a very good defensive effort, a team effort, in terms of the way we were able to keep them out of the endzone,” Gonzaga Coach Randy Trivers said postgame. “They [Prep] did a good job there in the first half, they had a drive where they were able to convert on several third downs, but the defense did a great job and came up with the big plays when we needed them.”
On the second half’s opening possession, Randolph wiggled his way into the endzone from a yard out on 4th down, extending the Gonzaga lead to 21-0. On Prep’s very next possession, linebacker Nick McEvoy recovered a fumble at the line of scrimmage, amplifying the dominant defensive effort displayed in the first half.
The fourth quarter saw Randolph score his second touchdown of the game, this one from four yards out to give his Eagles a 28-0 lead following a sack and three-and-out forced by the defense. And although the team was unable to score 35 points to trigger a running clock, safety Luke McCaleb secured a victory for the Eagles with a late interception, sealing a 28-0 victory over Georgetown Prep for their fourth consecutive Jesuit Gridiron Classic victory.
-Before the game, members of the armed services presented college scholarships to one player from each team in recognition of their excellence both on and off the field. Gonzaga’s recipient, safety Luke McCaleb, who has verbally committed to play lacrosse at Brown University, is a captain on both the varsity football and lacrosse teams. McCaleb is also a member of the National Honor Society and the Sons of Liberty club.
-Georgetown Prep’s recipient, senior kicker Brian Dolan, has maintained a 4.0 GPA, is Vice President of the Yard, and is Co-President of the Catholic Charities Youth Group. Aside from playing both varsity football and basketball, Dolan volunteers with the Big Brothers Program, as well as being named a Congressional Art Competition Honoree and Maryland All-State Football Selection last season.
-Saturday marked the 13th installment of the annual Jesuit Gridiron Classic game between Gonzaga and Prep, a rivalry game played to benefit the Washington Jesuit Academy, a private school in NE Washington, D.C.
-Gonzaga running back Tyree Randolph, who rushed for two touchdowns, was named the game’s MVP. Randolph stated his desire to win the award, saying he was inspired by when former backfield mate Reggie Corbin did so last year.
-The Eagles will take on Bishop McNamara (2-1, 0-0 in WCAC) next Saturday at home at 1:00PM.
-Georgetown Prep will play their first home game of the season Friday, October 2 following a bye week at 7:00PM against Riverdale Baptist (2-2)
For live game updates and news on recruiting, follow me on Twitter, @BouknightReport, and DCSportsFan, @DCSportsFan.