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St Peter’s Prep scored two touchdowns in each of the first three quarters and had too much firepower in a 41-28 win over a Blessed Trinity team that closed the game by scoring 21 points.

Jorge Portorreal ran for and caught a touchdown and also returned an interception to the end zone, setting the tone for the contest.

“Jorge is a dynamic player and he came out and had a great first half,” said Marauders head coach Rich Hansen. “When you get that kind of a lead in the first half, if gives you a lot of confidence, but it was typical first game stuff for us, and we really didn’t do a good job of holding onto the thing at the end. But we beat a good team that has two games under their belt.”

A near standing room only crowd enjoyed late summer sunny weather as six high school teams played a triple-header of games in the American Football Showcase, the curtain raiser to Saturday’s Aer Lingus College Football Classic between Boston College and Georgia Tech.

Offensive fireworks and big hits lit up a thrilling opening quarter between two powerhouses from Georgia and New Jersey.

After Blessed Trinity was stuffed on its opening drive by a swarming Prep defense, running back Portorreal tore through tackles and down the left hash marks to break free on a spectacular 48-yard touchdown run.

No sooner had the large traveling contingent stopped celebrating the New Jersey school’s score than the Titans hit back. Justin Kirby unleashed a 56-yard pass that found Ryan Davis in completely open field, and he eased into the end zone to tie the game at 7-7. The Marauders regained their one-score lead before the end of the intense opening quarter as Jonathan Lewis punched the ball home from four yards out.

Late in the second quarter, Lewis connected with Portorreal over 19 yards to stretch the lead to 14 points and with 2:09 remaining in the St Peter’s Prep took a significant lead into the locker room. Portorreal made his third trip of the day to the end zone, picking off a pass he returned 34 yards for a touchdown and a 27-7 lead after the game’s first missed extra point.

Any hopes of a Blessed Trinity comeback took a dent after only 1:44 of the game resuming as St Peter’s Prep drove downfield and Damion Abrams rumbled into the end zone from three yards out for a 34-7 lead.

“I was pleased with my kids,” said Titans head coach Tim McFarlin. “We played hard, but we made too many mistakes. We’re a very young football team and we played against a team that returned 16 starters, so I have no issues. Right now, it isn’t about winning or losing to us, it’s about getting our kids ready for the conference.”

Griffin McClure intercepted Lewis midway through the third quarter, but the potential for a turnaround in fortunes evaporated with a botched quarterback-center exchange. The Marauders punished the mistake instantly Dakari Falconer rushed into the end zone, increasing the advantage to 34 points.

The large Blessed Trinity contingent visiting Ireland from Atlanta was brought to its feet when Nick Zurinaga picked up a fumble and returned the ball 35 yards before he was pushed out of bounds at the 17-yard mark. At the start of the fourth quarter, the Titans were knocking on the door, seven yards from the end zone on first down. It took one strike for Cody Collins to roll out to his left and hit Joe Anderson for a touchdown and a reduced deficit of 27 points.

Blessed Trinity put together another determined drive that took the ball to within 10 yards of pay dirt and after running back Jake Rudolph chipped away at a handful of yards, Jake Smith found a diving Harrison Weltlich low in the end zone for a touchdown.

The Titans trailed to 41-21 with 6:08 to play and despite failing to recover an onside kick the momentum seemed to be shifting their way. Two personal foul penalties forces St Peter’s Prep to punt from deep and Colin Davis returned the kick down the left sideline to the Marauders’ 11-yard mark. It was fitting that Jake Smith picked out Davis for a touchdown that the receiver barely caught in the end zone to reduce the deficit to 13 points with 3:16 to play.

“It’s been a wonderful experience and we love the people of Ireland,” added McFarlin. “We’d love to come back and do this again.”

First quarter

SPP – Jorge Portorreal 48-yard run (Joe Henry kick) 7-0 / 8:59
BT – Justin Kirby 56-yard pass to Ryan Davis (Brooks Hosea kick) 7-7 / 6:12
SPP– Jonathan Lewis 4-yard run (Joe Henry kick) 14-7 / 3:18

Second quarter
SPP – Jonathan Lewis 19-yard pass to Jorge Portorreal (Joe Henry kick) 21-7 / 2:09
SPP – Jorge Portorreal 34-yard interception return (kick failed) 27-7 1:18

Third quarter
SPP – Damion Abrams 3-yard run (Joe Henry kick) 34-7 / 10:16
SPP Dakari Falconer 2-yard run (Joe Henry kick) 41-7 / 3:45

Fourth quarter
BT – Cody Collins 7-yard pass to Joe Anderson (Brooks Hosea kick) 41-14 / 11:54
BT – Jake Smith 7-yard pass to Harrison Weltlich (Brooks Hosea kick) 41-21 / 6:08
BT – Jake Smith 10-yard pass to Colin Davis (Brooks Hosea kick) 41-28 / 3:16