Stephen MacDonald spent the summer preparing for his role as the starting quarterback and leader of the Georgetown High School football team. It meant a lot of individual training, breaking down his game and seeing how he could improve upon what was already a record-setting junior year.
All of that work definitely showed Friday night as the senior passed for three touchdowns and 159 yards in Georgetown's 41-8 victory over Cathedral.
“He’s getting better week to week,” said Georgetown head coach Eric McCarthy. “He is getting more conference. He has come a long ways from last year, and that’s a tribute to the work he put in an offseason. He really did a lot of work in his technique, studying up the mental part of the game, his timing, and his comfort level. He's really just night and day in terms of progress over last year.”
MacDonald led an efficient offense from the opening kickoff. Distributing the ball between the speedy Matt Armata and his slew of receivers, he led a seven-play opening drive that was capped off by his 10-yard pass to Jack Lucido for a touchdown. MacDonald didn’t rest, lining up to kick the successful extra point to put the Royals up 7-0.
Georgetown recovered the resulting kickoff on a Cathedral fumble, but it was a rare four and out drive by MacDonald and his offense. Georgetown linebacker Connor Young ended the Panthers’ most promising drive of the first half, as the junior, who led the team in tackles on the evening, had two tackles on the drive. He then recovered a fumble forced by Chris Guyer to hand possession back to Georgetown at the Cathedral 35-yard-line.
Two plays later, it was deja vu. MacDonald completed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Lucido to put the Royals up 14-0. Cathedral started strong with a nice pass on the next drive, but injuries started to mount for the Panthers, including the loss of their starting quarterback. Dylan Angelopulos ended that drive with an interception that set the Royals up at midfield.
Two strong MacDonald completions and an 11-yard dash by Armata set up Georgetown’s next touchdown, a one-yard dive by Evan Swanton, putting the Royals up 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
More Panthers injuries caused a difficult second quarter. Armata’s 15-yard punt return set up MacDonald for his third touchdown pass of the night, a 44-yard completion to Matt Galley with 9:52 left in the first half. Gio Mercaldo led a strong defense to stymie the next Cathedral drive, giving the Royals one more second quarter possession.
Armata continued to have his best outing of the young season as the first half drew to a close. His six-yard touchdown run capped off a seven-play drive that gave Georgetown a 34-0 lead at halftime.
“We were very happy to see Matt Armata run the ball tonight the way he did,” said McCarthy of the senior, who had ten carries for 111 yards. “We've been working with him the first two weeks about cleaning up his technique and he really ran the ball a lot better tonight than he had. It’s a tribute to him, and hopefully we can keep him going.”
MacDonald let Anthony Plumb take the reins for the second half played in running time, and Plumb kept MacDonald’s run going with a strong ground game. He and Jared Graf combined for a productive six-play drive capped by Graf’s six yard run to the endzone.
The following drive saw Cathedral end their frustration and finally get on the board, thanks to steadfast running by Omari Blaggs and leadership by backup quarterback Carl Desovo. Chris Lewis scored on a three yard touchdown run, and then made the subsequent conversion for the Panthers.
Plumb concluded the game with a 10-yard interception that led to a clock-killing drive to close the game.
The convincing win gave Georgetown (2-1) some momentum to carry into next week’s tilt against rival Triton.
“We're just looking to continue to build on execution on both sides of the ball and just kind of shore things up,” said McCarthy. “I like the energy they played with tonight and we’ll keep that going as we prepare during the week.”
Georgetown 41, Cathedral 8
Cathedral (0-2): 0 0 0 8 — 8
Georgetown (2-1): 21 13 7 0 — 41
G — Jack Lucido 10 pass from Stephen MacDonald (MacDonald kick), 10:07
G — Lucido 31 pass from MacDonald (MacDonald kick), 3:28
G — Evan Swanton 1 run (MacDonald kick), 0:39
G — Matt Galley 44 pass from MacDonald (pass failed), 9:52
G — Matt Armata 6 run (MacDonald kick), 4:14
G — Jared Graf 6 run (MacDonald kick), 6:12
C — Chris Lewis 3 run (Lewis run), 6:40
RUSHING: Georgetown (23-165) — Matt Armata 10-111, Anthony Plumb 3-47, Troy Forgitano 1-20, Jared Graf 3-11, Dylan Angelopolus 1-10, Stephen MacDonald 1-7, Evan Swanton 2-3, Quinn Nicholas 2-(-1)
PASSING: Georgetown — Stephen MacDonald 7-12, 159
RECEIVING: Georgetown — Jack Lucido 3-53, Matt Galley 1-44, Noah Calvani 2-28, Matt Armata 1-23