Potomac High School defensive end Ian McDonald followed his directions to the letter on a key defensive play, and Panthers quarterback John Dominguez did not follow orders on a crucial offensive play. But both worked out just fine for the Panthers in a 13-7 win at Woodbridge last night in the schools' Cardinal District openers.
McDonald's gem came on Woodbridge's final down, when the Vikings faced fourth-and-7 on the Potomac 20-yard line with about two minutes left. During a timeout, Panthers Coach Keith King told defensive end McDonald that quarterback Abey Malave would roll to McDonald's right and that he would have to contain him.
Lo and behold, Malave did just that, and McDonald tripped him up for no gain to all but clinch the win.
"[King] told me to not let anybody get outside of me," McDonald said. "We were rushing the whole game, and that time he told me to keep it outside."
"Ian is a 155-pound defensive end who plays like he's 200 pounds," King said. "He gets a little overzealous sometimes and goes inside, and I told him he had to stay outside. It's nice to see a kid do what you tell him to do."
Dominguez's miscommunicated play came midway through the second quarter when, facing second and 1 at his own 44, King wanted his quarterback to run a keeper to pick up a sure first down. Dominguez either did not hear or did not heed the order, and instead ran an option toward the right sideline. He pitched to senior Rico Lloyd, who appeared to bobble the ball momentarily before racing downfield untouched for a 56-yard touchdown to tie the game.
Lloyd, who rushed for more than 200 yards last week, sat out the first quarter for disciplinary reasons. The Panthers had run 18 plays before the senior speedster got his hands on the ball. "I'm giving all the props to the offensive line this week," Lloyd said, motioning toward his teammates downfield. "I told them if I talk to the papers it's all about you all. It's not all about me anymore. Everybody knows about me. Let me get you all out there."
It was the defense that deserved as much of the credit as anyone last night, coming up with several crucial stops and not yielding a first down until the second quarter. The offense had prime field position almost every possession but could not capitalize. In the first half, the Panthers took possession at their 46, 44, 48, 35, 35 and the Woodbridge 49. In the second half, they took possession at the 50, 20, Woodbridge 12, and their own 18 and 20.
Potomac also came up with a major play on special teams that had eluded them through the first three games--and the first half of the fourth (botched field goal, unsuccessful fake punt). Terrance Dove picked up a fumbled punt midway through the third quarter and returned it 23 yards to the Woodbridge 12-yard line. Three plays later, on fourth-and-1, Lloyd scored the winning touchdown.
The Panthers had a chance to add to the lead but fumbled at the goal line with 6:11 to play. Throwing for a large chunk of his 168 yards, Malave then directed the Vikings to the Potomac 20, where McDonald made his crucial stop. The Vikings earlier had turned the ball over on downs at the Potomac 18.
On its first series of the game, the Panthers had first-and-goal at the 9, but a run lost two yards, Terron Williams dropped a pass in the end zone, and Darryl Wilson nailed quarterback Dominguez in the backfield to push the Panthers back to the 16, where they bobbled the snap on a field goal attempt.
Wilson saved the Vikings a few times. He chased down receiver Jesse Williams to prevent a touchdown, and he recovered the Potomac fumble at the goal line in the fourth quarter.
A 14-yard Lamar Lane punt return around the left corner gave the Vikings the ball at the Potomac 47 yard line midway through the second quarter. Four plays later, Malave hit Reginald Walker and the tight end turned it into a 35-yard touchdown pass with 4:47 left in the half.
After mishandling the snap for a field goal on its first possession, Potomac got within striking range on its next series, too, but Charlton McDougal picked off a Dominguez pass at the Vikings 19-yard line.
W--Walker 35 pass from Malave (Ashton kick)
P--Lloyd 56 run (Abrahamson kick)
P--Lloyd 3 run (kick failed)
RUSHING--Potomac: G. Price 6-17, Dominguez 12-(-8), Blackwell 2-2, R. Price 2-(-6), Lloyd 9-73; Woodbridge: Brandani 2-4, Terry 3-8, Malave 4-34, Carter 13-37, A. Brown 2-3.
PASSING--Potomac: Dominguez 6-11-1 114 yards; Woodbridge: Malave 11-25-0 169.
RECEIVING--Potomac: T. Williams 4-36, Dove 1-11, J. Williams 1-67; Woodbridge: Lane 3-40, Walker 3-75, Preston 2-23, Brandani 2-13, Wrighten 1-18.