Thomas Stone 11
McDonough running back A.J. Wallace missed the Rams' film session on the Monday before their showdown with unbeaten Thomas Stone. While his teammates were preparing for the week's Southern Maryland Athletic Conference game, Wallace was busy taking a chemistry test.
After his explosive performance against the Cougars on Friday night, Wallace might consider staying away from film sessions altogether.
The junior rushed for 192 yards and five touchdowns on 19 carries as McDonough (5-1, 5-1 SMAC) coasted to a 41-11 victory at home.
"I just came out with my A-game and tried to make a statement," Wallace said.
Consider Wallace's performance a statement by the entire McDonough team. Although the Rams entered Friday's contest one game out of first place, they had yet to beat a team with a winning record. After dominating Thomas Stone (5-1, 5-1 SMAC) on both sides of the ball, the Rams validated their position near the top of the conference standings.
"We knew it was a statement game for us, and our kids had to come out," McDonough Coach Dave Bradshaw said.
While Wallace exerted his will on the Cougars' defense, the Rams held Patrick Swearinger, Thomas Stone's leading rusher, to 28 yards on 13 carries. McDonough's defense also forced two turnovers in the first half that led to touchdowns.
"That brought a lot of emotion to the game for us," Bradshaw said. "We fed off of some of the things we did there. It made a big impact on what we were able to do offensively."
On the Cougars' second drive of the game, Rams cornerback Dominic Carter intercepted a pass and returned it to Thomas Stone's 7-yard line. Three plays later, quarterback Cory Yates's sneak into the end zone made the score 7-0.
With the score 21-0 after touchdown runs of five and 13 yards by Wallace, Rams defensive end Barry Galbreath hit Cougars quarterback Ryan Sirna and forced a fumble that McDonough recovered. On the next play, Wallace scampered up the middle for a 13-yard touchdown that effectively put the game away.
Wallace capped off his brilliant game late in the third quarter with a 28-yard touchdown run down the right sideline on fourth and 18.
Now that the Rams have beaten a team at the top of the SMAC standings, they face another upper-echelon team next week in unbeaten Lackey, the defending conference champion. McDonough will enter that game with an offense that is statistically one of the most balanced in the SMAC. Before Friday, the Rams were the only team in the conference with more than 700 yards both passing and rushing.
"We've got a crazy offense," Yates said. "We have too many weapons. We're too explosive. Lackey has a good defense. I'm looking forward to that game."