The No. 8 Park View High School football team has done the same thing on the first play from scrimmage in each of its seven games this season, daring opponents to stop it even though they know what's coming: Junior quarterback Nick Smith on a keeper up the middle.
On Friday night at Potomac Falls, Smith took that first snap and went 80 yards for a touchdown, setting the tone for the Patriots' 41-0 rout of the Panthers in a Northwestern District game. Park View improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the district.
As the play is scripted by the Patriots' coaching staff, two guards pull to the right to block the opponent's defensive linemen, and Smith's backfield mates--Nelson Stickley and Dustin Dudinski--move up to block the linebackers. The rest is up to Smith.
"There's always going to be a big hole there; I've just got to beat one guy, and I'm gone. I shook him, and that's all she wrote," said Smith, who rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries and threw for 110 yards and three touchdowns.
"That's a little embarrassing, when you know what play they're going to run and they do that to you anyway," admitted Potomac Falls Coach Wes Driskill.
Park View Coach Mickey Thompson was most pleased with his defense Friday night, which limited Potomac Falls (4-3, 2-2) to just 138 total yards. Senior defensive tackle Andrew Hoffman led the way with one sack, a fumble recovery and several key tackles for negative yardage, while junior defensive end Jeff McDonald added two sacks.
"Our defense continues to not get the respect it deserves," Thompson said. "[Potomac Falls] didn't respect our defense before tonight."
In fact, Smith said that a chief motivation for the Patriots was a perceived lack of respect by the Panthers' coaching staff, which Smith said made disparaging remarks about Park View coaches during Thursday's junior varsity game.
"They said our coaching staff was sorry," said Smith, who also had an interception while playing defensive back Friday night. "They said they had no respect for our coaching staff."
Driskill declined to address those comments.
"It's not relevant," he said after the game. "It's just someone that's trying to stir something up."
The other four Park View touchdowns that Smith had a hand in included one that came on a two-yard run, two that resulted from Smith-to-Dudinski passes and one on a three-yard pass to junior Tim Murphy. The Patriots' final score was put up when senior Rodney Howard ran the ball in from 16 yards out as time expired.
"We had players out there, and these kids wanted to play," Thompson said of his decision to put Howard in the end zone despite the 35-0 lead. "We really wanted to give Rodney a chance. He had never scored a touchdown, and he's a senior."
Notes: Potomac Falls quarterback Jason Treon handed the ball off to seven rushers, none of whom had much success. Treon kept it himself four times, gaining 19 yards. . . . Junior Brian McKenna incurred a concussion during the first half and did not return, and senior Angelo Wilson sprained his shoulder later in the game and didn't return.
Park View (7-0) 14 7 7 13--41
Potomac Falls (4-3) 0 0 0 0--0
PV--Smith 80 run (Develli kick)
PV--Smith 2 run (Develli kick)
PV--Dudinski 43 pass from Smith (Develli kick)
PV--Dudinski 23 pass from Smith (Develli kick)
PV--Murphy 3 pass from Smith (Develli kick)
PV--Howard 16 run (no kick attempt)
RUSHING--Park View: N. Smith 12-124, Stickley 13-68, Larson 4-35, Dudinski 6-67, Murphy 4-20, Chester 4-20, Howard 1-16; Potomac Falls: Wilson 6-15, Weller 4-13, McKenna 4-22, Lutman 4-15, Hamilton 4-16, Embrey 3-19, Treon 4-19.
PASSING--Park View: N. Smith 7-10-0 131; Potomac Falls: Treon 2-4-1 19.
RECEIVING--Park View: Dudinski 4-93, Ramey 1-19, Larson 1-16, Murphy 1-3; Potomac Falls: McIntosh 1-12, Wilson 1-7.
CAPTION: Potomac Falls's Jason Lutman brings down Dustin Dudinski (1) of No. 8 Park View, which improved to 7-0, 4-0 in Northwestern District play. Dudinski had 67 yards rushing and caught four passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns.