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Landon’s Matt Underhill finds time for football and soccer; Wilson’s Jeremy Dixon aims high

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On most days after school, Landon’s place kicker Matt Underhill attends the Bears’ practice for the first 45 minutes. The coaching staff has tailored that time for Underhill to get all of repetitions in on point after attempts and field goals. After that frame of time has passed, Underhill will then hurry across campus for his daily practice with the Landon soccer team, where he is the team captain.

Because of an overlap in the two teams’ game schedules, Underhill hasn’t kicked for the Bears in a game for four weeks. But he was there this past Saturday in a 15-14 win over St. Stephens and St. Agnes, where he provided the game-winning 22-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.

“It was a very scrappy game for us,” said Underhill. “I was confident of where the ball was and the position they put me in.”

In just his second month ever playing football, it was the first kick in his career that really mattered. He had connected on point after attempts earlier in the season in wins over McNamara and Annapolis Area Christian, but his field goal attempts had all failed. But part of the reason the football coaching staff wanted Underhill to join the team was because of the strength of his leg — and his ability to connect on mid-range kicks came through Saturday in an important IAC win.

“It was different, like readjusting to playing football,” said Underhill. “That was my first important field goal.”

Underhill has been a key ingredient to a successful soccer season for Landon (8-3-1), and he scored a goal on Friday in a 2-1 overtime win over St. Stephens and St. Agnes. The Bears will finish their regular season schedule on Tuesday against St. Albans, and Underhill will continue to rotate practices through the rest of the month. Landon’s football team will meet undefeated Bullis (7-0) on Saturday, an IAC showdown that was made all the more pivotal after Underhill secured the win for Landon last week.

“Matt Underhill is a very good kicker, a great soccer player. We just haven’t been in very many situations where we were able to have a field goal,” said Landon running back Myles Allen, who rushed for 174 yards last week. “I’m not surprised that he made it.”

Around the IAC

A week after the Bullis offense stole the show in a 61-14 win over St. Stephens & St. Agnes, the Bulldogs defense headlined a dominant 29-0 win over St. Albans on Saturday. It was just the second shutout of the season for Bullis (7-0), but it came against a St. Albans team that entered the contest averaging 37.2 points per game. Defensive end Peter Angeh recorded five sacks, which was his third consecutive game with multiple sacks, and the Bullis defense held St. Albans (4-4) to just 33 yards rushing and 10 first downs. “Our goal is still to go 10-0,” said Angeh. “There’s no drop-off between the starters and the backups. We just practiced harder all week until we got the job done.”

Around the MAC

Aided by Cameron Vaughn’s 138 yards rushing and three touchdowns, Flint Hill scored 49 points in the first half en route to a 62-21 trouncing of Maret on Saturday. The Huskies (5-2) won their fifth straight, while Maret (3-4) dropped their fourth consecutive game. Tre Bowens led the Frogs with five catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns. . . .

Sidwell Friends improved to 6-1 with a 28-6 win over Maya Angelou Saturday. Chase Plebani threw for 136 yards and a touchdown for Sidwell, and Kameron Mitchell added 73 yards rushing on just seven carries, two of which went for touchdowns in the win. Sidwell Friends will meet Flint Hill next week. . . .

Avalon snapped the Potomac School’s three-game winning streak with a 30-19 win, behind a monstrous performance from running back Rachid Ibrahim. He rushed for 324 yards and three touchdowns — hitting paydirt from 9, 95, and 93 yards. Jacquille Veii added a 99-yard kick return touchdown in the first quarter for Avalon (4-4).

Wilson’s Dixon brings high standards

Were it not for a holding penalty that negated a 55-yard touchdown run, Wilson senior tailback Jeremy Dixon’s stat line from Thursday’s 28-6 win at Coolidge would have been even more impressive. Officially, Dixon carried the ball 19 times for 123 yards and a touchdown. But it could have been more. That, according to Wilson Coach Mark Martin, is likely what Dixon will remember.

Dixon “is his own toughest critic, man,” Martin said.

Of all Dixon’s positive attributes — and for the player who has led Wilson (6-3) into DCIAA West title contention, there are many — his desire to do better may rank supreme in his coach’s eyes.

Sure, Wilson had success using three different tailbacks against Coolidge, which limited Dixon’s carries. And yeah, the fact that 55-yard touchdown run didn’t stick was out of his control. Regardless, Dixon felt he could have done more. It’s a trend Martin has watched build in the past year.

Dixon “always worked hard, but he put in a little bit more effort in the offseason,” Martin said. “And it shows with his endurance, his speed, he got stronger. It’s showing now.”

Among the area’s top rushers, Dixon ranks No. 6 this season with 1,287 yards and eight touchdowns. And the Tigers will need Dixon to be in top form when they take on perennial DCIAA power Dunbar (6-1) in the regular season finale.

Both teams enter the contest with unblemished conference records, which means the winner will claim the DCIAA West crown. Martin recalled the last time that was the case between these two programs, and the memory didn’t treat Wilson kindly.

In 2002, both squads took 3-0 conference records into the final regular season game, and — led by future NFL tight end Vernon Davis and current Dunbar offensive coordinator Stadford Brown — the Crimson Tide prevailed, 52-8.

“Just saying Dunbar, kids get intimidated by it,” Martin said. “We have to be prepared to play four quarters. Like I tell my kids, we can’t give 110 percent; we have to give 150 percent.”

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