CINCINNATI – Purcell Marian rallied from 14 points down to remain unbeaten, and it had to complete its comeback without its starting quarterback.
Backup Devonte Matthews ran in the decisive 4-yard touchdown as the Cavaliers edged Norwood, 21-20 in a U.S. Marines Backyard Battle at UC’s Sheakley Center on Friday.
The win give Purcell Marian the Mayor’s Cup.
“I knew I had to do what it took to win the game,” Matthews said. “We needed that win.”
On the Cavaliers’ last drive, junior quarterback McKell Jones injured his jaw after carrying the ball to the Indians’ 20 yard line. He left the game and the task of winning the game to Matthews.
Matthews scored with just under a minute remaining in the game, giving the Cavaliers the lead back for the first time since the first quarter.
Jones ran in a 1-yard touchdown to open the scoring. Purcell Marian’s next score was not until late in the third quarter when Jones found the end zone again, this time rushing 13 yards.
Jones followed with a pass to teammate junior Jair Knox for a successful 2-point conversion.
The Indians controlled the scoreboard most of the night, with senior quarter back Andrew Conover connecting with teammate Ward twice in the second quarter, first with a 9-yard toss and later a 12-yard pass.
Norwood’s senior wide out Jacob Cook snagged a short ball for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
The Indians appeared to have sealed it with a 61-yard touchdown on a bomb, but it was called back because of a block in the back.
Purcell Marian coach Brian Miller downplayed his team’s fast start.
“Two-and-0 doesn’t mean anything,” Miller said. “It just means you can still end up 2-8.”
Norwood has lost both games so far this season in the last few minutes of play and coincidentally, both were played at the Sheakley Center.
The Indians were defeated last week by Madeira, which scored with less than three minutes remaining. Next week, Norwood opens its home schedule.
Purcell Marian will go on the road to face Reading (1-1).