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Lamey, Mastrocola help Carroll punt Bonner & Prendie

Archbishop Carroll running back Joshua Bowman, here fighting off Cardinal O'Hara tacklers in a game earlier this season, ran for a touchdown Sunday to help Carroll beat Bonner & Prendergast, 17-14, and book a rematch with O'Hara in the District 12 Class 4A final. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)
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MARPLE — There were plenty of accolades to go around following Archbishop Carroll’s 17-14 victory over Bonner & Prendergast in the Catholic League Class 4A play-in game at Cardinal O’Hara Sunday.

There was Juliano Mastrocola, who connected on a 20-yard field goal in the first half, then up three with 1:23 to go, pinned the resurgent Friars at their own two with a 52-yard punt that Patriots coach Kyle Detweiler called the play of the game.There was Malachi Hansen, the sophomore defensive back who forced a fumble in the fourth quarter. There was Joshua Bowman who delivered his longest rush, a 12-yard touchdown, to put Carroll up 17-0.

But special distinction should go to quarterback Nick Lamey. His numbers don’t jump off the page: He finished 9-19 for 86 yards and an interception and added 55 yards on the ground. And yet the confidence and poise Lamey displayed under center led the Patriots to their first postseason win since 2007.

“My teammates,” Lamey said when asked how he settled in so quickly. “Everybody has my back, supports me. And my line kept me comfortable.”

Lamey, a sophomore, was making his first career start in place of the injured Russell Minor-Shaw.

“You’re optimistic, but you never really know,” senior defensive lineman Jaelen Parker said of his young teammates, like Lamey, delivering under pressure. “You see them in practice, you push them in practice. They’re doing all the right things, making the right decisions. You put your faith in them that they’ll do the right things in the game.”

Lamey did just that late in the third quarter. With Carroll up 10-0 — Mastrocola’s first-half field goal and a three-yard rush from Koran Butler accounted for the scoring — Lamey recognized a blitzing end on a read-option. He held the ball in the gut of his running back just long enough to draw attention, then pulled it away and broke through the line. Lamey scampered for 48 yards to set up the Patriots at the 12. Bowman scored on the next play.

“My coaches, they told me I wasn’t riding out (the read option) long enough,” Lamey said. “I did it, and the end blitzed. I saw daylight.”

Bowman’s rush completed a 71-yard drive, which followed a 59-yard scoring drive. The offense was humming, quite a response following an uneven first half that saw Lamey throw an interception.

“As soon as he started to make some plays then the confidence grew,” Detweiler said. “His ability to not get wavered was a testament to his mental strength.”

On the other side, Bonner struggled to get into the contest. The Friars turned the ball over on downs twice deep inside Carroll territory in the first half, once at the eight-yard line, once at the 20. And after Nasim Cooper picked off Lamey and returned it to the Patriots’ 31 with 1:27 left in the first half, Michael Standen threw an interception on the next play.

The Friars, down 17-0, finally mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter. Shon Nelson took over at quarterback midway through the third to give the offense a different look.

“They said go in and just try to make plays down field,” Nelson said.

He obliged. On fourth-and-3 from the 43, Nelson connected with Ian Edwards for a 31-yard game. Three plays later, Nelson scored on a keeper 1:18 into the final frame.

With four minutes to play, he showed off his legs and arm, escaping the pocket left and heaving a deep ball for Ibrahima Diallo who hauled it in. Nelson then floated a fade to James Welde to bring Bonner within three, 17-14.

“We were trying to make as many plays as we possibly could,” Nelson, who finished with 172 yards of total offense, said. “We tried to go deep with the ball, and (I) made some plays with my feet as well.”

But the Friars (3-8) would get no closer, thanks in part to Mastrocola’s masterful punt. The 52-yard boot left Nelson with 1:23 on the clock and 98 yards to score without any timeouts. The Patriots’ defense forced four incompletions.

“I’m just thinking beat him and pressure the quarterback,” Parker said. “As soon as you get in the quarterback’s face, the game is over.”

Carroll (5-5) will play Cardinal O’Hara next Saturday to see who will represent the Catholic League in the District 12 4A playoffs. They looked comfortable on the Lions’ home turf Sunday even with — and because of — their backup quarterback.

“That’s just our team. Our culture,” Parker said. “When we walk onto the field, we have that swag and mentality that we know what we’re doing.”

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