What was supposed to be a close battle between two of the top teams in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference turned out to be a rout, as 15th-ranked Northern, behind the running of Damian Jones, beat McDonough, 39-0, last night before a capacity crowd at Northern.

Jones, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound senior, rushed for 198 yards on 30 carries and scored three touchdowns. He also passed for a touchdown in the third quarter, as he hit John Burke on a halfback option pass for a 58-yard score.

Jones increased his school-record season touchdown total to 14 as Northern improved to 5-0 overall, 3-0 in the SMAC.

The running tandem of Sherron Gudger and Roosevelt Lee of McDonough (4-1, 3-1) was held to 60 and 20 yards, respectively.

Jones gave a lot of credit for his performance to the offensive line.

"We came out with some emotion and intensity," he said. "We really wanted to win the game. McDonough has a tough defense. The line just energized. I got some good blocking from the tight end and fullback positions."

Northern Coach Jerry Franks was not expecting the rout.

"The kids just played well, McDonough has a good team," he said. "We got some breaks early and the momentum built up. We had to beat a good, tough team. McDonough will win some games."

The game was basically over in the first quarter, as Jones started to find the holes in the Rams' line and the Patriots' defense got one key turnover.

Jones started the Patriots' scoring with 4:06 left. He took a handoff at the McDonough 49, went to the right, and turned up the sideline. He outraced Lee to the end zone.

The defense provided the second Northern touchdown two plays later. J.C. Price recovered a fumble at the McDonough 45 and returned the ball to increase the Patriots' lead to 13-0.

The best chance the Rams had to put any points on the board came halfway in the second quarter. Behind the running of Gudger, McDonough moved down to the Northern 28. But the Patriots' Darren Aley and Terry Ward stopped a reverse by Mike Mona on fourth down.

A 10-yard run by Jones on the ensuing Northern drive gave the Patriots a 19-0 lead at halftime.