In one of the more remarkable stretches one might ever see in a high school football game, Damascus recovered three straight squib kicks during its 31-14 win over Quince Orchard on Monday night.
But perhaps even more impressive than the actual recovery of the kicks, was the No. 2 Swarmin' Hornets' (5-0) ability to capitalize and score on each of the ensuing possessions. Using the same deliberate rushing attack that helped Damascus reach each of the last two 4A title games, the Hornets maintained possession for more than 12 minutes from the first quarter to the second.
"It's a slow death with Damascus," Quince Orchard Coach Dave Mencarini said.
Despite seeing All-Met Matt Reidy graduate last spring, Coach Dan Makosy said before the season that the depth in his backfield would be able to pick up the slack. And it was that sort of depth that allowed the Hornets to wear down Quince Orchard's defense.
Kyle Hogan finished with 94 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, and Steven Anderson had 64 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Quarterback Nick Sefcik chipped in with 40 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
"It's tough to [contain us] because we have so much depth in the backfield," Hogan said. "And our line, it doesn't matter what back is back there, they're going to block equally 100 percent every time."
On Tuesday afternoon, Al Thomas found himself in the Sherwood locker room scrambling to prepare for tomorrow night's matchup with Watkins Mill.
But rather than study videotape or map out a game plan, Thomas stood over a washing machine with a box of detergent, trying to remove the remnants of mud from the Warriors' biggest win of the season, 21-6, over host Seneca Valley in last Friday's driving rainstorm.
"I had to double wash them," said Thomas, the Maryland Hall of Fame coach who won five state titles while at Seneca Valley from 1974 to 1987 and now has Sherwood fans thinking about a championship.
Brian Gunderman rumbled 37-yards for a touchdown on Sherwood's first play from scrimmage, and the Warriors never looked back in their victory over the previously undefeated Screamin' Eagles. Matthew Hough scored on a 16-yard pass from Deontay Twyman in the second quarter to send the Warriors into the locker room with a 14-0 advantage and allowed them to slow down the pace in the second half. Seneca Valley didn't get on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter, by which time the game was all but over.
"The kids played very, very well," Thomas said, "and really controlled the game."
Entering the game, Thomas had shot down any talk of Sherwood's hot start by rebutting that the Warriors had yet to prove themselves. However, their performance over Seneca Valley certainly cements their status as contenders.
After Watkins Mill, Sherwood faces its toughest test of the season against second-ranked Damascus, another former Thomas employer. Last season, Thomas was hardly greeted warmly in his first return to Damascus since winning two state titles, as the Hornets routed Sherwood, 41-21.
Thomas refused to discuss the game that could settle the 4A West, however.
"No way," Thomas said. "We play Watkins Mill on Friday."
And with that, it was back to the laundry.
Poolesville Streaks On
Matt Ray's eight-yard touchdown run put Poolesville ahead for good in its 13-12 win over Snow Hill Friday night and also extended one of the most impressive winning streaks in Montgomery County.
The Falcons earned their 25th consecutive regular-season victory. They have not lost such a game since Larry Hurd took over the program in 2003.
In each of the past two seasons, Poolesville, the county's lone 1A school, has rolled all the way to the region final only to lose to Dunbar of Baltimore.
Off to a 5-0 start, Poolesville is on pace to make yet another title run. And this year, Hurd thinks his team may have a chance to go the distance.
"This team is as good as we've ever been," Hurd said. "We've got great kids. They've brought a certain level of talent to the program and a real winning attitude. . . . We're going to have to work real hard every day to reach that [championship] level."
Highlighting the Falcons' hot start has been the performance of quarterback Matt Ray (401 yards, one interception) and running back Jared Christman (898 yards, 13 touchdowns).
Ray "has been outstanding for us. He's the leader on our team," Hurd said. "Jared is a bruising downhill runner. He's got one speed: full speed, straight ahead."