Potomac 25, Stonewall Jackson 13
Vaughn Walker and Deante Steele are used to leading Potomac to victory. The pair combined for 26 touchdowns last season and all four of the Panthers' scores Friday night in a 25-13 win at home against Stonewall Jackson.
Steele, an all-Northwestern Region running back and defensive back, usually gets the lion's share of the publicity. But it was Walker's three scores -- capped by a 62-yard run in the fourth quarter -- that made the difference.
Along with a stingy defense that held the Raiders to no pass completions until less than a minute remained in the game, Potomac was able to make up for its own sloppy offensive performance. The Panthers (2-0) totaled three yards passing.
"The passing game wasn't there for us tonight," Potomac Coach Tony Lilly said. "We were trying to focus on the running game a little bit more tonight and fortunately it worked for us when we needed it to."
Part of Potomac's inability to throw the ball could be chalked up to inexperience. Starting quarterback Josh Asare and tight end Javon Brunson both missed the game due to disciplinary reasons, Lilly said. The Panthers' backup quarterback, Anthony Staples, was out with a knee injury. Senior Anthony Arellano filled in at quarterback.
At the start of the game, Arellano had to do no more than just hand off the ball. On his first carry, Steele scampered 62 yards for a touchdown, blowing past the middle of the Raiders' defense; it was the second straight week that Steele scored on his first carry. Walker's three-yard score in the second quarter and one-yard run in the fourth gave Potomac an 18-0 lead.
"It was beyond important," Walker said. "We had all that adversity on our minds of who we were missing tonight. We all knew that all of us had to pick each other up and put the other stuff behind us."
For Stonewall Jackson (0-2), last year's Cedar Run District champion, the season is getting off to a slow start. On Sept. 9, Hylton shut out the Raiders, 42-0, and Friday's loss was the Raiders' 12th defeat in their last 13 games against Potomac. The Raiders also have allowed 20 or more points in 10 of their past 14 games. Stonewall Jackson will try to get on the winning side Friday against first-year varsity program Freedom.
Potomac will travel to play Osbourn in a battle of 2-0 teams.