La Plata 12, Calvert 0
If Tyler Kisner could have explained himself to the officials, maybe they would have reconsidered throwing the flag. For a La Plata senior who had experienced just two victories in his two previous varsity seasons, Kisner, if anyone, deserved a little leeway with his celebration after scoring on an interception return.
"It's never happened before," Kisner said, trying to recall if La Plata had received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for excessive end-zone antics.
La Plata isn't that familiar with celebrating, but these are strange days for the Warriors. After their 12-0 Southern Maryland Athletic Conference victory at Calvert on Friday night, they are 2-0 for the first time in six years.
La Plata (2-0 overall, 2-0 SMAC) last started 3-0 in 1998. It has not won more than three games in a season since going 7-3 in 1999.
Here, though, is the most telling element about the state of La Plata football: The Warriors left Calvert disappointed with themselves.
La Plata committed 15 penalties and five turnovers, including three second-half fumbles. The Warriors may have been happy to win despite errors against Chopticon, but now they want to win with style and will try to do so this week at home against Leonardtown.
"It feels good to be 2-0, but we could have played better," said Kisner, who opened the scoring on an 18-yard touchdown run with 1 minute 41 seconds to go in the first half, 19 seconds before he scored on an interception return. "That's when you know you've turned around a program, when you win games, but you still think you could've played better."
Warriors first-year coach Chris Davidson concurred with a rhetorical question.
"When was the last time La Plata was 2-0 and felt miserable about the way they played?" Davidson said. "It's not a goal just to win a game anymore. It's a goal to get progressively better and play tougher against better teams."
Both teams are very young, with only 18 seniors between them, and their youth contributed to their frustration with the officiating. Calvert was assessed 10 penalties, and there was one seven-play sequence in the third quarter in which five penalties were called.
Aside from the penalties, La Plata knows it could have eliminated any late-game drama had it closed out the game earlier. But the Warriors committed three turnovers on their half of the field, including two inside their own 20.
Fortunately for them, Calvert (0-2, 0-2) could not convert. With the game scoreless in the first half, the Cavaliers committed penalties that negated plays of 16 and 20 yards on third and fourth downs that would have given them first downs.
"We kept shooting ourselves in the foot," Calvert Coach Ed Hottle said. "Youth is what it is."