Coming off of a forfeit, Pallotti rebounds with 28-0 win over Friends

By Ted Black
The Gazette
Saturday, September 25, 2010; 12:06 AM

Pallotti, playing its first game in nearly two weeks due to a forfeit, overcame a sloppy first half to earn a 28-0 victory over Friends School on Friday night at Fairland Regional Park in Laurel.

Pallotti forfeited a Sept. 16 game to Baltimore's Western Tech after school officials discovered a rap video on YouTube featuring several Pallotti players using language and references the school deemed inappropriate. Practices last week were canceled, and the team got back to work Monday afternoon.

Friday night, the Panthers improved to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference behind a punishing ground game that amassed nearly 380 yards. Meanwhile, the Pallotti defense limited Friends to one first down in the second half.

Pallotti coach Pat Courtemanche and running backs Allen Bright and Tyler Drew said the forfeit and this week's practices enabled the team to regain its focus.

"It was a good week of practice and a good win for us," Courtemanche said. "We got great support from the community and we had a good crowd here. The guys learned a valuable lesson. I think we were able to take the most from something negative and turn it into something positive. The school stuck behind us and these guys came out and played well."

Bright, who ran for 128 yards on 14 carries and scored twice, capped the Panthers' opening drive with a 23-yard run. After the Quakers turned the ball over on their first possession Drew plowed scored on a 1-yard run to give the Panthers a quick 14-0 lead with nearly four minutes left in the first quarter.

But the two teams then combined for five turnovers in eight plays, with the Quakers committing three of them in the Pallotti red zone.

"We have to limit the fumbles in the future," Courtemanche said. "You can't put the ball on the ground four times and expect to win too many games."

Pallotti opened the second half by marching 80 yards on five running plays. Drew (20 carries for 156 yards) raced 60 yards untouched off left tackle to give the Panthers a 21-0 lead. Bright capped the scoring with a 24-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter, and reserve fullback Allen Hall carried nine times for 80 yards in the second half.

"We knew that we had to come out strong from the start," Drew said. "We just lost our focus last week. We knew that we could come out here and show what we could do. It's going to take a lot of practice and a lot of focus to stay ready for teams like [Annapolis Area Christian School], but I think we have the potential to win our conference, and I'm aiming to break the school rushing record."

"I just think that we needed to stay focused and not get distracted," Bright said. "I think we have a very talented team and we can compete with anyone in our conference. Our entire offensive line works hard. I think missing that last game upset them."

Friends (0-4, 0-1) committed five turnovers and first-year coach Chuck Saine said the Quakers are inexperienced, with freshman quarterback Chandler Walters and freshman running back Eric Brooks getting most of the touches.

"We have plenty of long term potential, but right now with a freshman quarterback we're just young and inexperienced," Saine said. "Pallotti is one of the better football teams in this league. Their two running backs [Bright and Drew] are both very good."

This story is from The Gazette group of community newspapers published by Post-Newsweek Media, a unit of The Washington Post Co.

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