La Plata 14
By the middle of the fourth quarter against visiting La Plata on Thursday, Huntingtown quarterback Bobby Brown figured the exciting part of his evening was done. The Hurricanes led by a touchdown, and after having just regained possession, Brown figured his orders would be to keep the ball on the ground and eat up the clock.
His coaches had other ideas. On first down, Brown was told to look deep. He found Larawnn Dicks racing down the right sideline for a 74-yard touchdown pass that sealed Huntingtown's 41-14 Southern Maryland Athletic Conference victory.
"It surprised me [that we called a passing play]," Brown said, "but once [Dicks] caught it, I knew we just put the game away."
Brown said afterward that this was the type of play the Hurricanes would not have made -- or even tried -- just a couple of weeks ago. Never mind that the first-year school's roster is littered with varsity veterans from other schools. Huntingtown is just now starting to come together and absorb its playbook.
The Hurricanes (3-3, 3-3 SMAC) will need to keep it up during a grueling stretch of games. The La Plata contest was the first of three games in 10 days for Huntingtown, which plays a makeup game at Chopticon tomorrow at 6 p.m. and hosts McDonough on Saturday afternoon.
Because the school building was still under construction, the Hurricanes did not congregate as a team until Aug. 14, the first day of practice. There was no weight room for the players or even a common area for them to hang out on campus.
Less than three weeks after that first meeting, Huntingtown played its first regular season game. It was no coincidence, then, that the Hurricanes scored just one touchdown on offense in their first two games.
"It was a little overwhelming because it was a short period of time, but we just needed time to learn everything," said Brown, who had season highs of 125 yards passing and 101 yards rushing against La Plata.
The fourth quarter of Thursday's game showed just how much the Hurricanes have learned. After taking a 14-0 lead a little more than five minutes into the game, Huntingtown's offense struggled to move the ball the rest of the first half. Meantime, La Plata (3-4, 3-4) tied the game on the third play of the second half on a 46-yard run by Ty Kisner.
But on its second drive of the second half, Huntingtown put together a 14-play, 91-yard drive, highlighted by key third-down runs by Dan Davidson and Thurston Long. Phil Riley capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run to put the Hurricanes back ahead, 21-14.
The drive seemed to wear down La Plata, whose roster is not as deep as Huntingtown's. The Hurricanes could afford to substitute more ballcarriers throughout the game.
"I thought we were in pretty good shape," said La Plata Coach Chris Davidson, whose team has struggled since its 3-0 start. "But I see that we still have a little work to do."
After Nathan Coates intercepted La Plata on the third play of its subsequent possession, Brown went back on the field with the order to break the game open. Dicks, a transfer from Dunbar High in the District, caught Brown's pass about 25 yards downfield and then cut across the field, outracing defenders as he hit the left corner of the end zone.
"We're just starting to come together right now," Huntingtown Coach Jerry Franks said. "Everybody's getting to know one another and know where everyone has to be."