If the first two games of the season have taught the Potomac football team anything, it is that it takes more than one player to win a game. Thursday night at Brooke Point, senior running back Rico Lloyd was the first-half hero, but the Panthers needed big plays from quarterbacks Tony Blackwell and John Dominguez in overtime to earn a 21-14 victory.
Coach Keith King said Thursday's performance--his first victory as the Panthers' head coach--was a marked turnaround from the team's season-opening, 15-7 loss to Fork Union.
"In that first game, everybody was waiting for [Lloyd] to do something, and [Fork Union] shut him down," King said. "Now, maybe we realize that one player cannot win games for us."
On Thursday, Lloyd gained 148 yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns in the first half but was held to minus-three yards on six carries in the second half.
Brooke Point (1-1) may have gleaned a similar lesson. Running back Larry Smith rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns, but the rest of the Black-Hawks offense totaled just 18 yards and did not complete a pass.
King, meanwhile, figures Blackwell, a sophomore, and Dominguez, a junior, are likely to continue to share time under center.
Against Fork Union, Dominguez got the nod so Blackwell could be more rested for his linebacking duties. But Thursday, Blackwell led the Panthers' offense on its first five possessions before Dominguez came in during the second quarter. Blackwell took just one more series at quarterback but made several key plays on defense.
"We know we can play both of them," King said. "We didn't start Tony because John played badly last week. He played well, in fact, but Tony gives us more of a running threat. If people are going to load up the flanks on us, we will use him to run some option and get us some yardage."
Although Blackwell netted just four yards on four carries against Brooke Point, he set up several of Lloyd's gains by drawing the defense before pitching to the senior speedster. He also completed a screen to Lloyd on the game's first play from scrimmage for a 10-yard gain--a play that helped set up Lloyd's 64-yard touchdown run two plays later.
Blackwell's biggest contributions, however, were on defense. In overtime, after Dominguez had put Potomac ahead with a 10-yard scoring toss to Terron Williams, Blackwell led a host of tacklers to hold Smith to a two-yard gain on the first of Brooke Point's four downs. Linebacker Derrick Dent threw Smith for a loss on second down, and defensive lineman Keenan Carter dropped Brooke Point quarterback Jeff Tate for a loss on third down. Blackwell then batted away Tate's pass on fourth down to end the game.
Dominguez, meanwhile, seemed tight in the early going and failed to complete his first five attempts. His redemption came when he perfectly placed a lob into Williams's hands in the back corner of the end zone on the first play of the extra period.
"John is such a competitor and he hates to lose so much that sometimes he tries to do too much," King said. "That's another reason why we started Tony, so that [Dominguez] is a little more relaxed when he goes in there. Both these guys are relatively inexperienced, so we are going to be patient with them and let them use their strengths."
Potomac (1-1) 7 7 0 0 7--21
Brooke Point (1-1) 7 0 7 0 0--14
P--Lloyd 64 run (Abrahamson kick)
B--L. Smith 3 run (T. Smith kick)
P--Lloyd 43 fumble return (Abrahamson kick)
B--L. Smith 5 run (T. Smith kick)
P--Williams 10 pass from Dominguez (Abrahamson kick)
RUSHING--Potomac: Lloyd 18-145; Brooke Point: Smith 25-153, Anthony 6-16.
PASSING--Potomac: Dominguez 1-6-0 10, Blackwell 2-3-0 11; Brooke Point: Tate 0-3-0 0.
RECEIVING--Potomac: Lloyd 2-11, Williams 1-10.