A Walk Down Memory Lane: Bob’s Touchdown vs. “Remember the Titans”
He may be the Attorney General of Virginia but if you ever really want to get Bob McDonnell talking, ask him about the November 1971 football game between his Bishop Ireton Cardinals and the now-legendary T.C. Williams Titans! No, Bishop Ireton didn’t win. That year, as Disney reminded us in the movie, no one beat T.C. Williams. The Titans rolled to a state championship shutting out 9 of their 13 opponents along the way.
When Bishop Ireton took the field against the Titans, it was the last game of the regular season and T.C. Williams was on its way to the playoffs. They had not given up a touchdown in 20 quarters. But that streak ended late in the game when the Ireton quarterback hit a wide receiver named Bob McDonnell for a 63 yard touchdown, putting Ireton on the board, and giving Bob McDonnell a story to tell for the rest of his life!
Tonight, at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, Bob got to tell that story one more time as he received “The Hall of Fame Award” from the Alexandria Sportsman’s Club.The Award is handed out once a year to “someone who played sports at a city of Alexandria high school and then went on to achieve great success in their chosen career.”
Bob would be the first to tell you that public service has worked out much better for him than his brief football career! But tonight, he got to be Wide Receiver Bob McDonnell one more time and enjoy a nice walk down memory lane.
Below is the text of an Alexandria Gazette article from November 15, 1971 about the Bishop Ireton-T.C. Williams game. And that guy in the picture? That’s the Attorney General, long before words like “en banc” and “certiorari” meant anything to him!
Titans Taking Aim At Regional
The Alexandria-Gazette, Sports Section
Monday November 15, 1971
By Clay Kemp, Staff Writer
The game was billed as the “Optimist Bowl” and it pitted T. C. Williams against the Cardinals from Ireton. But it looked as if the Cardinals were the only optimistic team on the field and the Titans seemed to have their minds on bigger things, like their game with Annandale this Saturday for the Northern Regional title.
The Titans won as expected but they had to overcome six turnovers and fight off a scrappy Cardinal team to take a 26-8 decision and finish the regular season with a 10-0 record. The Ireton touchdown was the first one yielded by the Titan defense in 20 quarters, dating back to Oct. 8 when TC defeated Marshall 21-16. The Titans had seven shutouts in their 10 games.
Williams drove to the Cardinal 28 the first time it had the ball but the Titans fumbled and Andy Cooch recovered for the Cardinals on the 25, Ireton reeled off four first downs and had to punt from the TC 38. Williams drove to the 41 and on the next play quarterback Ron Bass hit Brad Smith with a pass good for 29 yards to the Cardinals 20. But the Titans were called for a procedure penalty and it was beginning to look like one of those days for the Titans.
Frankie Glascoe, who rushed for 105 yards on 18 attempts, picked up nine yards and then Bob McDonnell picked off a TC pass and the Cardinals had the ball on their own 22. TC had the defense to stop the Cardinals but early in the second quarter the Titans fumbled again at the 50 and McDonnell recovered. At this point the Titans had the ball three times and they lost it the same number.
The Titans figured that two can play the turnover game and Chris Kusseling stepped in and intercepted for TC. This time the Titans held onto the ball and took it 49 yards for a score with four minutes left in the first half.
Glascoe, who needed 21 points to win the scoring race, as Annandale’s Mike Lucido scored 20 against Fairfax Friday night, took it over from the two for the first of his three touchdowns for the day. But even on this drive the Titans had a fumble, but Steve Guild got them off the hook when he beat the Cardinals to the ball for the Titans, Bass, who rushed for 94 yards, had 27 in the drive.
In the next minute things got wild as the Cardinals fumbled on their first play and Julius Campbell, who played an outstanding defensive game, as he led a front four which sacked the Cardinals quarterback eight time for 56 yards in losses, recovered for TC on the Ireton six. But on the first play, the Titans fumbled and T.J. Lafferty fell on it for Ireton.
The Titans forced Ireton to punt but TC fumbled the punt and this time Brian Ruberry recovered for Ireton on the Cardinals 43. Again the defense held and TC had the ball on the 50 with 44 seconds left in the half. This proved to be eight seconds more than the Cardinal defense could hold for it was at that point the Titans came up with a razzle-dazzle play.
Bass took the snap and handed off the Glascoe, who in turn pitched to Henry Castro, who flipped the ball back to Bass. By this time Glascoe was far down field and he gathered in Bass’ pass and raced into the end zone. Lastik added the point and with no time left on the clock it was 14-0.
The Titans posted 12 more points in the third period but they ran only three plays from scrimmage. Ireton was forced to punt and TC was called for roughing the kicker. The Titans overcame this bit of misfortune as Tom Jones made a one-handed interception and raced 45 yards for a touchdown.
Williams had another interception moments later but the Titans, who were penalized 130 yards, were charged with pass interference. The awesome TC defense got the ball back however, and this led to the Titans last touchdown for the day.
With a first-and-10 on their own 44, the Titans needed only three plays to cover the 56 yards. Bass hit Brad Smith with a pass on the Ireton 27 and Smith legged it to the eight yard line. Glascoe got the call for three and, knowing he needed all the points he could get, Bass handed off to Glascoe again for the TD. Glascoe tried a run for the two-point conversion but was stopped on the goal line.
The Titans were slapped with 50 yards in penalties in the last four minutes of the third quarter to stop them from doing any further damage. But the defense wasn’t letting Ireton do any either.
Williams drove to the Ireton 15 early in the fourth period but the Cardinals held. Kusseling and Silas Holmes took turns dropping O’Brien for losses and the Cardinals had to punt. On the first Glascoe ripped of 20 yars to the 10 but clipping penalty nullified that run and the ball was brought back to the 60. Two plays later the Titans fumbled again and Dan Smith recovered for Ireton at the mid-field stripe.
After an exchange of punts, O’Brien, who passed 38 times for 213 yards, came onto the field to take over on his own 37 yard line. Dropping back to pass, and ducking away from the oncoming Titan linemen, O’Brien spotted McDonnell at the TC 34 and he threw a strike and McDonnell did the rest as he raced over to give the Cardinals their only score. The same two hooked up on the two-point conversions and with 2:12 left it was 26-8.
Williams, which needed 48 points to edge Marshall for the team scoring honors, kept the ball for the remainder of the game but a fumble, which they recovered, and penalties kept the Titans from scoring.