Written by Tommy Cummings
St. Mark's coach Bart Epperson: 'We fell apart completely' in 45-23 loss to Fort Worth All Saints
FORT WORTH — The Fort Worth All Saints secondary wasn’t much of a factor in the first half against St. Mark’s on a humid Friday night.
Second half? Different story.
All Saints’ secondary ended four St. Mark’s drives with interceptions, and the No. 1 team in SportsDay’s large private school area rankings rolled to a 45-23 Southwest Preparatory Conference North victory at McNair Stadium.
All Saints improved to 4-0 and 2-0 in the SPC North. St. Mark’s, ranked second in the area, fell to 2-1 and 1-1.
For most of the first half, St. Mark’s quarterback John Webb and receiver John Caldwell were finding big seams in the All Saints secondary. Webb and Caldwell connected on scoring passes of 27, 36 and 26 yards as St. Mark’s built leads of 17-7 and 23-14.
All Saints pulled within 23-17 on sophomore kicker Jonathon Song’s 31-yard field goal 10 seconds before halftime. But All Saints made some halftime adjustments in its secondary to combat Webb, who was spraying the field with passes.
“We did a little more press, dropped our safeties back to play the deep ball … and that was the key for us in the second half,” All Saints coach Aaron Beck said.
Big plays on offense didn’t hurt either.
Running back Daniel Gresham, who had 92 first-half rushing yards, broke loose on a 69-yard touchdown sprint to turn the momentum. At first, Gresham, who finished with 178 rushing yards and four touchdowns, appeared stopped a few steps into the line, but he emerged to outrun the St. Mark’s secondary.
Song’s extra-point kick with 6:53 left in the third quarter gave All Saints the lead for good.
From there, the All Saints defensive backfield stole the show. Safety William Avondet, defensive back Ricky Jenkins, linebacker Mack Prioleau and safety Xavian Jackson each snagged interceptions, with Jackson returning his 40 yards for the final touchdown.
Webb, who came into the game averaging 41 passing attempts, was 33-of-60 for 361 yards, with seven completions going to Caldwell for 138 yards. Webb’s counterpart, Foster Sawyer, completed 16 of 30 passes for 298 yards.
Sawyer’s pass to Charlie Reid turned into an 80-yard play that seemed to take the fight out of St. Mark’s with 4:02 left in the third quarter.
“We fell apart — completely,” said St. Mark’s coach Bart Epperson. “With a passing attack, you can’t have a quarterback fall apart like that.”
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