Fourth-ranked Damascus beats Springbrook, 35-14

By James Peters
The Gazette
Friday, October 1, 2010; 11:32 PM

Fourth-ranked Damascus traveled to Springbrook Friday night and went home with what would appear to be a convincing 35-14 victory. But despite the 21-point final margin, the outcome was in doubt until very late.

"It's definitely a huge win," said Damascus quarterback Connor Frazier, who threw for three touchdowns passes and 129 yards on 11 of 19 passing. "They're not 4-0 for no reason. They're a really good team. It's a good win for us. Plus it's a 4A team, so it gets a lot of [playoff] points for us."

The Blue Devils (4-1 overall, 1-0 Montgomery 4A East Division) showed how tough they could be early in the fourth quarter. That is when Brion Robinson scooped up a fumble by Frazier and raced 76 yards to trim Damascus's lead to 21-14 with 10 minutes, 59 seconds left in the game.

Robinson and company then forced Damascus (5-0, 3-0 Montgomery 3A) to punt on its next possession, continuing the momentum shift and giving their offense the ball at their own 23-yard line with 9 minutes 49 seconds left.

But as quickly as Springbrook got back into the game, Damascus closed the door. The Blue Devils were forced to punt after going backwards 2 yards on three plays. The punt traveled just 19 yards to give the Swarming Hornets good field position at the Springbrook 40-yard line.

"'We've got to win this if we're going to states,'" Damascus's John Hanley, who had two interceptions in the game, said the team said at halftime. "'We've just got to shut them down and play some football.'"

Five plays later, Frazier hooked up with Zach Bradshaw from 13 yards out to push the lead back to 14 points at 28-14 with 5:57 remaining. Springbrook tailback Devon Pestano rushed for 15 yards on his team's first play on its next drive, but Smith's pass to the home sideline ended up the hands of Damascus defensive back Tyler Patton.

"When I saw him throw it, I just broke on the ball and picked it," Patton said.

Smith threw three interceptions for the game. The junior signal caller replaced starter Brandon Washington after Springbrook's opening drive that resulted in 1 yard and two incompletions. Smith moved the offense at times with his ability to run the option and scramble out of harm's way. One of his interceptions came deep in Damascus territory.

"We needed a little spark," Springbrook Coach Rob Wendel said. "We were having trouble with our passing game the first few games. We had to change something up. He did a nice job. It's his first game. It's a tough one to go up against Damascus."

Following the Patton interception, Damascus used up nearly four minutes of the clock on a nine-play, 43-yard drive to open up the final 21-point advantage on a 1-yard plunge by Mark O'Hara with 1:25 left.

The Swarming Hornets opened up a 14-0 lead in the first half on 14-yard scoring strike from Frazier to Bradshaw and a 47-yard run by Hanley. Springbrook cut that lead to seven by halftime on a 37-yard run by Derrick Short.

Damascus scored on its first drive of the second half on a 32-yard pass from Frazier to Patton, who dragged behind the linebackers and in front of safety Pestano and then raced down the sideline for the score.

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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