Solomon Vault’s big night carries Gaithersburg past Sherwood in season opener

Gaithersburg running back Solomon Vault felt nauseous all day Saturday, so he limited himself to a diet of one bolognaise Hot Pocket and coconut water in the hours leading up to the Trojans’ season opener against Sherwood. When Gaithersburg ran onto the field for pregame introductions, the Northwestern recruit was still back in the locker room throwing up fluids.

A few minutes later, he emerged onto the field, flanked by two trainers, to loud applause. But that was just the start of the crescendo Saturday night in Rockville.

Vault was sensational, rushing for 155 yards and four touchdowns to lead Gaithersburg to a 32-7 win over Sherwood in a Montgomery 4A nonleague game at Richard Montgomery.

“It’s my pregame ritual. I throw up before every game. I thought I was going to be good,” Vault said. “I get nervous.”

Vault scored on touchdown runs of 44, 4, 9, and 70 yards, and the first and last runs were particularly brilliant. He juked several defenders and cut back into the open field in the second quarter to give the Trojans (1-0) a 6-0 lead, and tacked on another touchdown seconds before halftime after Sherwood (0-1) shanked a punt deep inside its own territory.

After his nine-yard touchdown run capped a seven-play drive to open the second half and give Gaithersburg a 20-0 lead, Vault had found his second wind. His jersey was in tatters when he came back to the sideline, so the equipment staff found him a new one that wasn’t being used by a player on the roster. The following drive, he fumbled inside the Trojans 25-yard line, leaving an opening for the Warriors, who trailed 20-7 midway through the third quarter.

“It’s actually kind of rare. I was kind of surprised,” Gaithersburg quarterback Nick Decarlo (96 total yards) said of the fumble. But Gaithersburg’s defense held, and Vault, wearing a new uniform, still stood out on the ensuing play – racing 70 yards untouched for a touchdown.

“That was the momentum switch right there,” Trojans senior quarterback Nick DeCarlo said.

Vault, who pledged to Northwestern in April, rested for the fourth quarter. He laughed with his teammates, his ripped jersey around his neck and his stomach finally settled.

“So much for these new jerseys,” Vault said. “I didn’t want to come out of the game, for my team. I want to be able to go, all the time.”

Roman Stubbs covers the University of Maryland athletics for The Washington Post.

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