On a night when he made big plays on offense and defense, on the ground and through the air, St. Charles High School senior quarterback Klayton Batten carried the Spartans to their biggest victory in the brief history of the program.
Batten plowed forward from one yard out in overtime in St. Charles’ 27-21 triumph over host North Point on Friday night in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Potomac Division clash as the Spartans defeated the Eagles for the first time ever.
St. Charles (5-2, 3-1 SMAC Potomac) had never beaten North Point (5-2, 3-2) in the previous four meetings between the teams and none of them had been close. Prior to the 2018 season, Spartans second-year head coach Patrick Orndoff had been on Eagles head coach Tom Petre’s staff. Last fall, when the teams met in a clash of unbeaten squads, North Point ventured to St. Charles and handed Orndoff his first setback as a head coach.
“They’re the measuring stick for all other programs in SMAC,” Orndoff said of North Point. “That’s why these kids were so excited to win and were able to celebrate like they did. At halftime, I told our kids we were right in this. We had to stop hurting ourselves with penalties and turnovers.”
Following a scoreless third quarter in Friday’s contest, North Point took a 21-13 lead into the final frame and was on the verge of adding to its advantage. On first down at the St. Charles 15-yard line, Eagles quarterback Tedros Gleaton watched the shotgun snap sail over his head and recovered at the 37.
On the very next play, Gleaton was intercepted by Batten for the second time on the night and the Spartans countered by marching 65 yards in 13 plays and ending when Batten connected with Justin Palmer on a 14-yard scoring strike. Konner Blount-Foster then added the 2-point conversion to tie the game at 21 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in regulation. The deadlock would stand after four quarters and the game would go to overtime.
North Point had the ball first in the overtime session and appeared destined for the first score. Gleaton carried twice for eight yards to bring the Eagles to the Spartans’ 2. On third down, the Eagles were whistled for a motion penalty, pushing the ball back to the 7. Gleaton was then sacked and, on fourth down, kicker Christopher Hernandez pushed a 29-yard field goal wide left.
“It definitely was not a clean game on our part,” Petre said. “We had a number of penalties and three turnovers and we didn’t finish some drives. In the overtime, we have the ball at the 2, then get a penalty that sets us back. St. Charles made the plays in the fourth quarter and the overtime, so hats off to them for making plays when they needed them.”
On the Spartans’ first play of the overtime, Batten bounced a keeper off the left side and dragged several North Point defenders down to the Eagles’ 1. On the very next play, Batten plowed forward from one yard out for the touchdown that ended it and he sat in the end zone while his teammates sprinted across the field in celebration.
“We knew coming in here we had to play our best game,” Batten said. “We had never beaten North Point. They’ve been the best team in SMAC for a long time. We knew if we wanted people to respect us, we had to beat them. Everybody made plays tonight, the offensive line, the defensive line, special teams.”
St. Charles had scored first in the contest, taking the opening kickoff and going 72 yards in just six plays. Batten carried once for 48 yards, then, three plays later, Palmer scored from four yards out to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.
North Point drew even when it went 68 yards in 11 plays and Gleaton plowed forward from one yard out to bring the hosts even with less than a minute left in the first quarter. After the two teams combined for just two touchdowns through the first 20 minutes, they combined for three touchdowns in a frenetic final three minutes of the first half. North Point went 82 yards in just six plays and took its first lead of the night when Gleaton connected with Lasalle Rose Jr. on a 34-yard scoring strike with just less than three minutes left in the half. But the Spartans immediately replied when Blount-Foster returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to trim the gap to 14-13.
North Point wasted little time to answer. On a drive that spanned only 54 yards, Gleaton connected with Rose three times for 48 yards and found him for the second time in the end zone from 15 yards out. Hernandez connected on his third extra point of the half to vault the Eagles to a 21-13 lead at the intermission, but the hosts would not score in six second-half possessions.
The Eagles look to bounce back when they head to Thomas Stone for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday against a Cougars team that fell to Westlake in the 301 Classic in Week 7, 52-31. For St. Charles, it will host Great Mills at 7 p.m. Friday against a Hornets squad that fell 44-14 to Northern in Week 7.