McDonough 41, Calvert 7

The McDonough football team completed a successful first half of its season with a decisive 41-7 win over Calvert on Friday night. Now comes the difficult part for the Rams.

McDonough (4-1 SMAC, 4-1 overall) awaits showdowns with all of its Charles County rivals, starting with Thomas Stone this week. A year ago the Rams began the season with two shutout wins but stumbled in the end, losing seven of their final eight games. This year, McDonough is in the thick of the SMAC race.

"We're ready to show people what we're made of," junior running back A.J. Wallace said. "We knew we could come out and do what we've done at the start."

After Thomas Stone, McDonough will play Westlake and defending champion Lackey, two of the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference's top teams the past few years.

"Any time you play a county game, it's big," Coach Dave Bradshaw said. "You know it's going to be a tough game no matter what. Both teams are going to bring their A games. . . . It's very exciting for them to be such big games."

Wallace carried the host Rams to an easy victory on homecoming night in Pomfret. Wallace rushed for touchdowns of 52, 4 and 2 yards and added a 55-yard punt return for a score. He finished with 130 yards rushing on 15 carries.

The first big play was the 52-yard touchdown run, which, after a two-point conversion catch by Wallace, gave McDonough a 14-0 lead with 5 minutes 36 seconds left in the first quarter. On that play, Wallace burst through a big hole, bounced off two tacklers and raced into the end zone.

On the punt return, Wallace appeared to be tackled after a few yards, but he broke it, regained his footing and raced for the touchdown.

"He's a special athlete who can create a lot of things," Bradshaw said. "But he'll be the first to admit that the most important thing is for the [offensive] line to make the holes. They did a great job with that tonight."

While Wallace's running was the highlight, the entire Rams offense was strong. Quarterback Cory Yates completed 6 of 10 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. Senior receiver Mike Lucero had five catches for 135 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.

Meantime, the Rams defense came through in stopping a Calvert offense that started off strong. Calvert (0-5, 0-5) rushed for 79 yards in the first quarter but was limited to 28 running yards the rest of the game. The Cavaliers have been outscored 167-29 this season.

Calvert showed flashes of strong play in the beginning and end, albeit with different styles. Junior running back Donovan Harris rushed for 60 yards on the Cavaliers' first two drives, which took up 10 of the first 12 minutes of the game but ended scoreless.

In the fourth quarter, backup quarterback Gene Briggs, a senior, orchestrated two long drives with his strong arm. He completed a 60-yard touchdown pass to junior Terrell Smith for the Cavaliers' only touchdown. He finished 6 for 13 for 198 yards.