Three interceptions and a botched punt snap cooled the Gwynn Park High School football team’s hot start to the 2011 season. Saturday afternoon, the Yellow Jackets dropped to 2-1 as they lost, 14-6, on the road against rival Frederick Douglass in a Prince George’s County 3A/2A/1A League game.
The Eagles’ secondary intercepted Gwynn Park sophomore quarterback Jay Adams three times, and Douglass (2-1) did just enough on offense to notch the victory.
“That was something,” said Eagles Coach J.C. Pinkney. “It’s one of those things when we played Gwynn Park, the chances are 50-50. Their guys were amped up, our guys were amped up, and we knew it was going to be a good football game. We had some missed chances, but they did too. We have to learn from them and hopefully next time we can execute.”
Opportunities missed played a bigger role in the outcome than plays made.
It was the Yellow Jackets who got the game’s first turnover, when Michael Wingard intercepted Douglass quarterback Taitor Reynolds in the first quarter, setting up the Yellow Jackets on the Eagles 30-yard line. Fullback Dewayne Staton scored on a three-yard run to give Gwynn Park a 6-0 lead. Staton finished with a game-high 75 yards rushing on 13 carries.
Late in the first quarter, the Yellow Jackets attempted to punt from their own 25-yard line but center Nate Barnes’ snap sailed over the head of punter Andrew James, who recovered the ball, but was tackled at the Gwynn Park five-yard line. Three plays later, the Eagles tied the game on a two-yard touchdown run by Chris Wilson.
The mistakes then continued for the Yellow Jackets. Wide receiver Antonio Howard fumbled after a catch, and Douglass recovered and turned the ensuing possession into points. Wilson scored on a 25-yard run and Reynolds added a two-point conversion.
On Gwynn Park’s following drive, Adams threw the first of his three interceptions, as Wilson picked him off in Yellow Jackets’ territory. The next time the Gwynn Park had the ball, Adams seemed to get into a rhythm. Using their hurry-up offense, the Yellow Jackets marched 50 yards to the Douglass 20-yard line. But the drive ended when Eagles’ safety Kyle Smith intercepted Adams at the Douglass 15-yard line.
In the fourth quarter, a 10-play Gwynn Park drive ended when Douglass cornerback Marquette Moorefield picked off an Adams pass and returned it 45 yards to the Yellow Jackets’ 35-yard line.
Gwynn Park got to the Eagles’ 12-yard line on its final possession, but four consecutive incomplete passes sealed the Yellow Jackets’ fate with only 52 seconds remaining in the contest.
“The snap going over the head of our punter hurt us real early,” said Gwynn Park Coach Danny Hayes. “Basically we have to step up in practice and do better than we have been doing to eliminate the penalties that we had. We have to do that to get it done on Saturday.”
This story is from The Gazette group of community newspapers published by Post-Newsweek Media, a unit of The Washington Post Co.