McPherson Captures First Flag of the Year

Stewart House captain John Paul McPherson hoists the captured Calvert-Carroll flag with his right hand as teammates congratulate him for successfully crossing the finish line to win a game of Capture the Flag at The Avalon School’s Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary played at Seneca Creek Park in Gaithersburg, Md.

Stewart captain John Paul McPherson captured the first flag of the new school year Friday and led a Stewart-Washington house pairing to victory in game one of the Our Lady of the Rosary Festival Day at Seneca Creek Park.

McPherson, a senior, dazzled with brilliant maneuvers and finally snuck across the finish line with the safety circle just inches away.  Intelligent strategies from teammates and teachers also contributed.

Zamir Courtney, Washington House, set up the final push when he showed amazing athleticism to advance the flag 10 yards away from the goal line.

Once the safety circle was reestablished, McPherson completed a pass to junior Andrew Merritt, Stewart House, to position the safety circle approximately half a yard from pay dirt.

Stewart House captain John Paul McPherson sneaks across the finish line by leaping past an unsuspecting defense as he hoists the captured flag over his head during a game of Capture the Flag at The Avalon School’s Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary played at Seneca Creek Park on October 5, 2012 in Gaithersburg, Md.

McPherson then tried another pass attempt to Merritt but failed to advance the flag.

At that point “[I] had enough and decided [I} could jump over the line when the defense wasn’t paying attention,” said McPherson.

After another failed pass attempt McPherson waited for the safety circle clearance, and with Carroll-Calvert players out of position he successfully attempted his leap.

Calvert and Carroll paired together and early on ran themselves into jail which depleted their numbers throughout the game.

The park’s terrain gave Washington-Stewart a slight advantage because of an incline in the field and Courtney had a downhill run to set up the final moves by McPherson.

In game two, controversy ensued when the game was called with Calvert and Carroll just a couple of yards away from winning.

Calvert captain Emmett Sloan had the first run down the right sideline and along the brush to get the flag half way home.

Another run by Tracy Johnson, Carroll, placed the flag in the middle of the Stewart-Washington zone, and then Carroll’s David Garey scampered down the left sideline before diving just short of the goal.

However, Time ran out and Avalon Headmaster Kevin Davern blew the whistle to end the game.

Because Calvert-Carroll had captured the most prisoners, they were declared the winner but only half points are rewarded when a game is won via the prisoner tie-breaker rule.

The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is traditionally the first Avalon Festival Day of the year and an afternoon game of Capture the Flag kicks off competition for the year.

After a few morning classes, President Rich McPherson recites G.K. Chesterton’s Lepanto to the entire school.  Lepanto is a long but beautiful poem that describes the Holy League’s Jon Don of Austria and his victory over the Ottoman Empire in 1571 at The Battle of Lepanto.

Next, the school prays the Rosary and after that new students are drafted into houses.

Avalon’s next Festival Day is November 1, All Saint’s Day, and will feature poetry competitions as well as capture the flag.


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