Coming into Saturday's game, Gonzaga's football team knew they would be in for a dogfight. Exactly one year ago, the Eagles took on McDonogh and lost by 14 points. This season, however, Gonzaga came out on top 17-14 against Baltimore's fourth-ranked team to improve to 2-0 on the season. Connor Ennis hit Devin Butler on a 47-yard touchdown pass with one minute to play.
"We just called a good play and they weren't ready," Butler said. "They didn't wrap up. [McDonogh] just wasn't ready for it. My quarterback, Connor Ennis, and the whole offensive line just played hard."
The game went back and forth for the majority of the afternoon with both teams fighting to keep the lead. After Gonzaga's defense allowed a 52-yard touchdown pass from Joel Jorgensen with just under nine minutes to play in the fourth quarter, it was the offense's turn to make a big play. Ennis hit Butler across the middle on a slant and Butler did the rest, breaking a few tackles and managing to reach the end zone with a handful of McDonogh defenders trailing closely behind.
"It was a heck of a football game," Gonzaga coach Aaron Brady said. "Our kids just hung in there. McDonogh is just a great football team. They really challenge you in a lot of ways. They throw the football really well, they're really well coached and they make very few mistakes. Our kids just hung in there and we were lucky enough to get a win. What a great game."
The game's final touchdown wouldn't have been possible without the continued dominance of Gonzaga's defense. After not allowing Archbishop Hoban's offense to score last week, the defense held McDonogh's offense to just one touchdown Saturday.
"Our defense is one heartbeat," Brady added. "They fly to the football. On every play it's somebody different. These first two weeks have just been unbelievable. The offense has struggled at times but the defense just keeps playing and coming up with stops. It's just fun to watch those guys fly around."
McDonogh was threatening late in the fourth quarter inside Gonzaga's 15-yard line, but the Eagle defense made a huge fourth down stop to give the offense one last shot.
"We practice the two-minute a lot," Brady added. "We have belief in ourselves and Connor Ennis made some great throws. Devin Butler just made an unbelievable play to catch the slant and break a couple of tackles and go to the house."
The victory was Gonzaga's first on their new field, which was filled to just about capacity Saturday afternoon.
"The atmosphere was great," Butler said. "This is what we live for as football players."
Gonzaga (2-0) will host St. Joe's Prep (PA) next weekend while McDonogh will play at Archbishop John Carroll.
2nd Quarter (11:55): 28-yard field goal by Danny Leonard, 3-0
3rd Quarter (6:42): 35-yard interception return by Roman Braglio, 7-3
3rd Quarter (0:00): 50-yard run by Duane McKelvin, 10-7
4th Quarter (8:34): 52-yard pass from Joel Jorgensen to Scott, 14-10
4th Quarter (1:02): 47-yard pass from Connor Ennis to Devin Butler, 17-10