Patuxent High School's football team roared into Friday's showdown with Thomas Stone with the most potent offense in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference. But the Thomas Stone defense ended up stealing the show, shutting down Patuxent standout running back Terry Caulley and shutting out the Panthers, 41-0.
The Panthers, who came into the game averaging more than 44 points, were held to 130 yards of total offense and were shut out for the first time this season.
Caulley, who came into the game leading the Washington area in rushing yards with 1,255, gained 30 yards on 13 carries.
"Defensively, they lined up in [the formations] we thought they would," Patuxent Coach Jim Esposito said. "The bottom line is they came hard all night and contained our offense. They were the better team on the field tonight."
Marcus Whalen had five tackles and returned an interception 32 yards to set up a score for Thomas Stone (7-0, 5-0 in the SMAC). Mike Farland led the Cougars with eight tackles, Brian Sims added six tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery, and Steven Peaper recorded sacks on two consecutive plays, the second resulting in a safety.
On offense, Whalen ran the ball 13 times for 137 yards and scored two touchdowns--on a 45-yard run and a 65-yard punt return.
"When you have two 6-0 teams, it just gets brought to a different level," Thomas Stone running back and defensive end Mike Finamore said. "We came out and just played our defensive game. I predicted earlier this week we were going to win, 35-0, and we scored 41. They couldn't do anything on us. I believe in every one of our defensive players with a passion."
In addition to containing Caulley, the Cougars held quarterback Judd Vail to two completions on 11 attempts for 18 yards. Caulley, who carried the ball more than 30 times each of the previous two games, carried the ball only five times in the second half and gained most of his yards on the final drive of the game.
"They haven't faced a defense like we have," Thomas Stone Coach Richard Callahan said. "We've got speed at linebacker, speed at defensive end and we fly to the ball. Take Brian Sims--he's 6-5, but he can run. Everything isn't just about weight, it's the whole package."
Panther fullback Anthony Baldwin was more effective, gaining 78 yards on nine carries. But the Patuxent offense started just one drive on the Cougars' side of midfield and rarely sustained a drive past four plays.
"They might have size," Whalen said. "But we have more heart, more talent and more speed than anyone in the SMAC, and we proved it tonight."
The Rushing Race
Charting the progress of Thomas Stone's Marcus Whalen and Patuxent's Terry Caulley, the SMAC's top two rushers.
Att. Yards TDs
Friday 13 30 0
Season 139 1,285 17
Att. Yards TDs
Friday 13 137 1
Season 112 1,282 11