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Cardinal Ritter football uses second half surge to defeat St. Louis University High, extend win streak to 23 games

Visiting Lions score 24 straight points in second half to take control

ST. LOUIS – The undefeated Cardinal Ritter football team found itself in unfamiliar territory midway through the third quarter on Friday night at St. Louis University High.

The Lions, who haven't lost since the start of the 2022 season, trailed the host Junior Billikens by three points with 7 minutes 37 seconds left in the third quarter. 

Coach Brennan Spain's squad responded to the challenge with 24 straight points and pulled away for an impressive 52-39 victory.  

“It took us to focus, us to execute and us to do what we’ve been doing all season long," Spain said. "I tell all our guys all the time we’re going to get everybody’s best, we’re going to get everybody’s best but the best won’t beat us. We have to continue to execute, continue to get better.”

“... We make timely stops, offense executes, and we come out with the victory. So kudos to my guys.”

The No. 4 team in the SBLive Missouri Power 25 football rankingsCardinal Ritter (9-0) was coming off a 34-21 win against visiting Hillsboro on Saturday where the Lions probably didn't finish as strong as they wanted to.

This time, that wasn't a problem. And it took a team effort with several players making timely plays to get the victory, the 23rd in a row dating to the beginning of last season.

"We focused on not getting rattled," Carson Boyd said. "We were down and we're not really used to being down, so we had to play with some adversity, but the team pulled through. We stayed calm and we executed."

St. Louis University High (5-4) was trying to bounce back from a tough 40-22 road loss at No. 7 Rockhurst and played one of its better games this fall.

"Ritter made some good adjustments in the second half and just made more plays than we did," SLUH coach Adam Cruz said. "We fought incredibly hard and I was proud of our fight. We had a lot of young guys step up and a lot of guys battle through some stuff. We have to shore some things up but I can't fault our effort."

Ritter senior quarterback Antwon McKay Jr., a Western Illinois commit, ran for the first touchdown of the game before throwing three touchdown passes to three different receivers: juniors Elijah Abdullah and Dejerrian Miller and sophomore De’Shaun Stevenson.

Lions junior quarterback Carson Boyd added a pair of touchdown passes to Stevenson and Miller.

Combined, the dynamic duo accounted for six scores.

Miller followed up a three-touchdown performance against Hillsboro with two more touchdown receptions, giving him 12 this season. Stevenson, a transfer from St. Mary's, also had two TD catches.

Jamarion Parker, a junior running back who has committed to Arkansas, added a late touchdown run for his 14th of the season.

SLUH got three touchdown passes from senior quarterback Marco Sansone to three different receivers: seniors Joseph Harris, Ryan Wingo and Nathan Gunn.

Wingo, the standout senior wide receiver who will announce his college destination on Wednesday, scored twice. He had a touchdown catch and then a touchdown run as the wildcat quarterback midway through the third quarter.

Senior defensive back Jacobi Oliphant returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. 

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- Nate Latsch | | @SBLiveMiz