Gaithersburg opponents normally concentrate on slowing running back Jay Colbert to stop the Trojans' offense. As coaches from several future foes were looking on yesterday, quarterback Ian Hamilton gave them something else to be concerned about.
With Colbert missing part of the game because of injuries and the Trojans' rushing offense struggling, Hamilton threw two touchdown passes and the Trojans' defense was stifling--leading No. 6 Gaithersburg past visiting Watkins Mill, 29-7, in a Montgomery County 4A game before 2,000 at John H. Harvill Stadium.
"Coach [John Harvill] is always talking about running and passing," Colbert said. "If we can do both, we're going to be even more of a threat."
Colbert finished with 70 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries, but was not much of a factor. He missed part of the first half after getting what he called a "mini-concussion" returning a punt. In the second half, Colbert had to be helped off because of cramps. After three easy victories, yesterday was the first time this season the Trojans' starters played the entire game.
But Gaithersburg (4-0, 4-0) was able to get by without a big game from Colbert. Hamilton completed 10 of 16 passes for 181 yards, but threw three interceptions.
Gaithersburg's defense allowed just 42 yards rushing on 24 attempts. It also stopped Watkins Mill (3-1, 2-1) from scoring after the interceptions and a blocked punt that gave the Wolverines the ball on the Gaithersburg 22-yard line late in the third quarter.
"I was scared when Jay got hurt at first," Hamilton said. ". . . But we knew we were going to throw the ball today. I had some fun out there. It helps when you have a great back because then the defense keys on him."
Hamilton threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Norman Smith on the Trojans' first play from scrimmage, hitting Smith in stride on a slant after a play-action fake slowed the cornerback.
Gaithersburg appeared to be in position to take control after stopping Watkins Mill on its next possession. The Trojans picked up 55 yards on a run by Semaj Richardson (who came in after Colbert was injured) and a pass from Hamilton to tight end Bobby Jacobs. But wide receiver Anthony LaVine dropped a pass in the end zone and the drive stalled. Kevin Riordan missed a 26-yard field goal.
A 60-yard gain on a hook-and-ladder play set up Watkins Mill's only touchdown, an eight-yard run by running back Jackson Francois that tied the game at 7 midway through the first quarter.
Gaithersburg failed to convert an interception deep in Watkins Mill territory, but an errant snap on a Watkins Mill punt gave Gaithersburg the ball at the Wolverines 7. On third and goal, Colbert got to the left corner of the end zone for a two-yard touchdown run and a 14-7 lead.
Four minutes later, Ron Frazier turned a short pass to the right flat into a 30-yard touchdown and a 21-7 lead with 5 minutes 35 seconds left in the half.