With Friday’s game against Seneca Valley coming down to the final possession, that unit was asked to step up once more.
Forcing the Screaming Eagles into a fourth-and-15 with just 40 seconds left to play, Damascus stopped a Seneca Valley wide receiver just short of the first down marker after a 14-yard reception, giving sealing 16-14 road win.
“Damascus is known for defense,” junior defensive back Jalen Christian said. “We knew it was going to be a close game. Our defense saved us. I just love them.”
Though he still has a year left with Damascus (7-1, 5-0 Montgomery 3A), Christian showed why he’s one of the Swarmin’ Hornets’ team leaders after Seneca Valley cut the Swarmin’ Hornets’ lead to 16-14 on a 10-play drive late in the third quarter.
Christian gathered the first-team defense on the sideline and told them the Screaming Eagles wouldn’t make many more plays.
“I pumped them up,” Christian said. “I told them, especially the seniors, that this might be the last time you play Seneca. I pumped them all up.”
From there, Damascus held Seneca Valley (5-3, 4-1) to just 30 yards for the remainder of the game, with 26 coming on two plays during the game’s final drive.
●QUINCE ORCHARD CRUSHES GAITHERSBURG: In a battle of unbeatens, the Cougars dominated the Trojanes 41-6 Friday night, stating its case as the top team in Montgomery County.
Quince Orchard (8-0, 3-0 Montgomery 4A West) held the Trojans (7-1, 3-1) to 149 yards of total offense and had Gaithersburg quarterback Nick DeCarlo fleeing the pocket on play after play.
Offensively, Quince Orchard saw three rushers carry for 70 yards or more, and Mike Murtaugh sliced through the Gaithersburg secondary with 7 of 9 passing for 144 yards. Five different Cougars scored touchdowns in the game, including junior tailback Kyle Green, who rushed for 144 yards on 17 carries.
“Today was a great win. A great team defensive game, offense did their thing. I think this was just a great team effort overall,” said Cougars’ defensive end Adam McLean, who sacked the speedy DeCarlo twice. “I think we’re good enough to go to the promised land. We’ve got little knick-knack things we can work on, but that’s what football’s ‘all about.
“This leaves us. . . well, going right back to the drawing board on Monday,” said Cougars’ wideout Elliott Davis, who caught a 72-yard touchdown pass and frustrated several DeCarlo pass attempts from the secondary. “That’s how it is for us, it’s a business.”
●OLD MILL ESCAPES CHESAPEAKE: The No. 8 Patriots avoided their first slip-up of the year with a 10-7 victory in Pasadena. Old Mill, which went through the gauntlet during its first three games of the season, closes out the regular season against North Coutny (1-7) and Severna Park (4-34).
GLENELG STAYS ATOP HOWARD STANDINGS: With six seconds left in the first half, Glenelg wide receiver Brent Richardson ripped the ball out a defender’s hand and took one step into the end zone. The junior’s only catch of the night put the Gladiators ahead, 7-3, and set the tone for their dominant second half in a 21-3 win over Centennial in Ellicott City on Friday night.
The victory all but secured a postseason berth for Glenelg (7-1, 7-1 Howard County), which will play Long Reach and Atholton — who had a combined one win entering Friday night — in the final two weeks of the regular season. The loss also puts a significant damper on the playoff hopes of the Eagles (5-3, 5-3), who haven’t reached the postseason since 1980.
After being held to nine yards on five carries in the first half, Glenelg senior running back Jared Jacoby finished with 119 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. David Brookhart also scored on a one-yard run on fourth down at the start of the fourth quarter.
Glenelg’s defense pressured Centennial quarterback Tyler Morris throughout the night, resulting in five sacks. The Eagles also slowed themselves down with eight penalties that amounted to 65 yards.
HUNTINGTOWN SQUEAKS PAST NORTH POINT: The Hurricanes held off the Eagles and running back Marquel Dickerson to pull off a 14-13 win in Waldorf. The Hurricanes took a two-touchdown lead in the first half on two rushing touchdowns from running backs Arnez Bowens (12 yards) and Isaiah Carer (five yards).
North Point rallied in the second with their postseason chances on the line.
“They’re a good defense, and they forced a lot of those things that at this time of year, and in the playoffs, that will get you beat,” Huntingtown coach Brendan Galligan said. “They were very aggressive and played with their backs against the wall.”
The Eagles’ first touchdown came with a little more than five minutes left in the game. A North Point defender stripped the ball from quarterback Robbie Payne’s hands to recover the ball at midfield. Dickerson’s 30-yard touchdown run put the Eagles within range of a tie with one minute, 30 seconds remaining, but the extra point was no good.
Big stops from defensive end Dalonte Holland and outside linebacker Matt Schug kept Dickerson--who has garnered interest from Georgia Tech and offers from Toldeo and Buffalo with 1,344 yards in seven games--to single digits in the first half.
“Our defense really controlled the line in the first half and played phenomenal,” Galligan said. “I could pick ten guys to name who stood out.”
Dickerson was held to just about 60 yards for the game. His lowest total before this week was a 144-yard showing against Chopticon.
The playoff atmosphere at North Point was fitting for the importance of the game in 4A East standings. The Eagles were previously five points below the fourth and final playoff qualifying spot, and will likely drop behind Leonardtown after the Raiders’ win 24-19 against Northern.
FRIDAY’S SCORES (more to come here)
H.D. Woodson 22, Dunbar 13
Perry Street Prep 50, Options 14
Annapolis 34, Northeast 0
Blair 34, Einstein 18
Broadneck 37, Arundel 18
Clarksburg 14, Northwest 13
Calvert 20, McDonough 14
No. 7 Damascus 16, Seneca Valley 14
Howard 26, Hammond 7
Huntingtown 14, North Point 13
Lackey 34, Bohemia Manor 0
Leonardtown 24, Northern 19
No. 11 Meade 42, North County 0
Oxon Hill 36, High Point 0
Paint Branch 54, Bethesda Chevy-Chase 14
No. 15 Patuxent 47, Thomas Stone 28
Poolesville 23, Wheaton 20
No. 3 Quince Orchard at No. 16 Gaithersburg 6
No. 13 River Hill 49, Oakland Mills 6
South Hagerstown 42, Watkins Mill 0
South River 36, Severna Park 27
Southern 35, Glen Burnie 0
Whitman 34, Walter Johnson 3
Wootton 24, Richard Montgomery 20
No. 5 Briar Woods 43, Park View 0
No. 2 Centreville 53, Washington-Lee 7
Fairfax 51, Marshall 22
Forest Park 49, Gar-Field 0
Hayfield 40, Mount Vernon 16
Langley 62, Jefferson 7
Loudoun County 17, Champe 0
McLean 42, Madison 7
No. 14 Stone Bridge 41, South Lakes 13
Woodgrove 38, Dominion 0
Annapolis Area Christian, 42, Friends (Balt.) 8
Curley 34, Severn 7
Episcopal 38, St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes 21
Spalding 28, Georgetown Prep 24
St. John’s Prep 26, Pallotti 20