Every time the Largo football team did anything right in its season opener tonight against Urbana, the Lions almost immediately made a mistake to negate their positive plays. Often, Urbana sophomore Billy Gaines was on the other end of the play.
Gaines, a 5-foot-6, 155-pound wide receiver, caught six passes for 144 yards and one touchdown and recovered a fumbled punt, helping Urbana to a 26-6 victory over visiting Largo in a nonleague game before 2,500. It was the 14th consecutive victory for the Frederick County school, which went undefeated last season and won the Maryland 2A championship.
"Everything we did, something came right back against us," Largo first-year coach Eric Wade said. "We shot ourselves in the foot. It was more inexperienced mistakes than not being in the right place."
Urbana quarterback Zack Mills, a 6-3 senior who has orally committed to Penn State, completed 12 of 24 passes for 209 yards. His 15-yard touchdown pass to Gaines midway through the third quarter on a fade pattern in the right side of the end zone capped the scoring and put away the game. But it was Mills's previous pass to Gaines that was the biggest play.
On the first possession of the third quarter, with Urbana leading 13-6, the Hawks faced third and 10 from the Largo 40-yard line. Mills threw a pass deep down the left sideline toward Gaines, but Largo cornerback Richard Burns appeared to have the play covered as he leaped and deflected the ball. However, Gaines caught the deflection and stayed inbounds for a 38-yard gain. Two plays later, Alex Herbert scored on a one-yard run. The point-after failed, but Urbana had pushed its lead to 19-6.
"In the beginning, I couldn't believe the size of some of the kids out there," said Gaines, who played on Urbana's freshman team last season. "But I told myself to suck it up and do the best I could."
Said Urbana Coach Dave Carruthers: "Billy Gaines made some super catches. That one down there was one of the best I've ever seen."
Two plays after Gaines's touchdown, Largo running back David Okunola fumbled and Urbana's John Jordan recovered. After Mills gained 14 yards on a bootleg to keep the drive going, Mills threw his touchdown pass to Gaines. Following a shaky first half, Mills completed 7 of 10 passes in the second half.
"First game, I was nervous and the whole team was nervous," Mills said. "It took a while to get it out. We settled down in the second half and it showed."
Largo's best highlight came when Curtis Raby returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter. But a late hit penalty cost the Lions 15 yards on the point-after try and a pass failed, leaving the Prince George's County team trailing 10-6. Later in the half, after the teams traded interceptions, Largo forced a punt, but Raby muffed the ball at his own 6-yard line and Gaines recovered with six seconds left in the half. Josh Brown kicked a 23-yard field goal.
Largo struggled offensively throughout the game, but particularly in the second half when it failed to get a first down.
"We just have to get it together and work harder in practice," Largo quarterback Marcus Richardson said.