ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow.
For the Good Counsel (Md.) football team, you can add ferocious tornadoes to that creed, too.
Dark clouds wrapped around the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium on Saturday afternoon and heavy winds and rain caused the cross-state showdown between the Falcons and St. Joseph Regional to be delayed 40 minutes.
Even with a severe tornado warning issued in the surrounding areas, Good Counsel -- ranked No. 19 in the current USA Today national poll -- in the end weathered an impressive effort by its North Jersey juggernaut opponent.
Kendall Fuller hauled in a 94-yard scoring strike with no time on the clock in the third quarter and the Good Counsel defense strung together a tremendous web of frustration for St. Joe’s in a 14-10 victory.
The Green Knights, No. 3 in the MSG Varsity Tri-State Top 25, fell out of its usual offensive rhythm in the second half and was never able to recover in the rain-soaked MSGVarsity.com Livecast showdown.
"Our defense did really well, but we stopped executing on offense," star wide receiver Ricky Jeune said. "This really hurts."
St. Joseph’s first two drives set a strong tone that lasted until late in the second half. Mark Fossati converted a 29-yard field goal in the opening minutes for an early advantage, and then the Green Knights used Marcus Jemison’s fumble recovery at the 17 to set up Jeff Farina’s 3-yard score at the 5:17 mark.
Good Counsel finally punctured the St. Joseph defense and got on the board early in the third. CJ Carroll hauled in a 29-yard, leaping catch and was brought down at the 1. Clemson-bound running back Dorian O’Daniel then punched it in for a score, cutting the Falcons’ deficit to 10-7 with 8:53 left.
With no time on the clock in the quarter, Brendan Marshall delivered the big blow and connected with Fuller on a 94-yard touchdown pass to secure the Falcons’ victory.
"We started off really well," Jeune said. "But now we've got to get back at it. This is a lesson learned."
Good Counsel improved to 2-1 on the season. In the Falcons’ opener, they fell to Bishop Gorman (Nev.), 27-22, but then rebounded with a thrilling 20-19 victory over Gilman (Md.).
Meanwhile, St. Joe’s faces another out-of-state foe in Week 2, this time against Xaverian Brothers of Massachusetts.
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter