As soon as Jon Genua's final extra-point kick went through the uprights Friday night, then-eighth-ranked Damascus immediately turned its attention to its Maryland 3A semifinal game at top-ranked Seneca Valley on Friday night.
And Coach Dan Makosy hopes Genua will play as pivotal a role then as he has throughout the season. Friday, Genua's final kick gave the Swarmin' Hornets a 28-27 overtime victory over then-No. 13 Annapolis. According to Makosy, Genua's winning kick was his seventh in the past two seasons. Genua has won the last two regular season finales with overtime field goals that have put Damascus in the playoffs.
"He is rock solid when it comes to that stuff," Makosy said. "Our biggest problem has been blocking for him. Every time we have needed it, he has drilled it."
Genua, who also plays outside linebacker, injured a toe playing defense early in the season. Because of that, Makosy limited his kicking to extra points and field goal attempts until Friday, when Genua also handled the kickoff duties.
He likely will kick off again Friday in the battle for bragging rights in northern Montgomery County. Seneca Valley won the teams' first meeting, 28-6, on Oct. 15, and is 9-1 all-time against Damascus.
"Since we lost to Seneca the last time, we have used it as motivation," Makosy said. "We want to go back and play them. We got [wide receiver Joe] Scritchfield hurt the first time, and it took us out of about 40 percent of our offense. We ended up losing four or five players that game. We just want to play them when we're healthy one time."
James Monroe Coach Rich Serbay was still smarting yesterday morning after his team's 22-16 loss to Nottoway in a Virginia AA Division 3 Region I semifinal Friday night. After James Monroe took a 16-15 lead on a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chip Corderman to wide receiver Bryan O'Neal with four minutes left, Nottoway got a good kickoff return and scored the winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining.
"It really hurts," said Serbay, whose team lost to Nottoway, 58-7, in the first round of the playoffs last season. "It is a tough pill to swallow right now. In my opinion, we outplayed them. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good." . . .
Another thrilling finish came in Spotsylvania's 36-35 overtime win over Powhatan in a Virginia AA Division 4 Region I semifinal Saturday. Down 35-34 in overtime, Spotsylvania was attempting an extra point that would have tied the score, but the snap went awry. Quarterback Korey Johnson picked up the ball and lofted a pass into the end zone toward 6-foot-4 tight end Joe Hunter, who made the catch among several defenders for a game-winning two-point conversion.
"He just sort of heaved it out there," Spotsylvania assistant coach Troy Wright said. "I don't even know if his eyes were open. It really didn't work the way it was designed to work. But it worked. It was wild." . . .
After falling behind by two touchdowns, Strasburg turned two turnovers into touchdowns and rallied for a 42-35 victory over top-seeded Riverheads in a Virginia A Division 1 Region B semifinal. Strasburg running back Nathan Martoncik rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Charlie Drummond connected with wide receiver Jesse Miller on several passes to lead the Rams' offensive explosion.
Backing It Up
Perhaps no player this season made a bolder statement than Thomas Stone All-Met running back Marcus Whalen did prior to his team's Maryland 3A quarterfinal game against Westlake. "Westlake is 8-2," Whalen said. "I don't think they should even be in the playoffs."
Whalen then went out and knocked the Wolverines out of the playoffs, rushing for 166 yards and one touchdown, and the Cougars rolled to a 41-12 victory and a semifinal game against Randallstown.
"We told him, 'You better back up what you said,' " Thomas Stone Coach Rich Callahan said. "He said, 'No problem.' The confidence was there." . . .
Howard defensive end Louis Matthews returned a fumbled field goal attempt 58 yards just before halftime for the only score in the Lions' 6-0 victory over previously undefeated Middletown on Friday night. Matthews, a senior in his first season playing high school football, later recovered two fumbles in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory. He also has 15 sacks this season.
The Best Offense . . .
Though No. 9 Culpeper is best known for its high-scoring offense, a defensive play proved to be the turning point in the Blue Devils' 17-7 victory over E.C. Glass of Lynchburg in a Virginia AAA Division 5 Northwestern Region semifinal on Friday.
Free safety Steven Barber, the Commonwealth District defensive player of the year, intercepted a pass and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 7 early in the first quarter, and Culpeper (11-0) went on to victory.
"[Barber] has been our leading tackler the last two years," Culpeper Coach Lou Sorrentino said. "He is kind of a 'tweener--he is part linebacker and part safety." . . .
Undefeated teams in Maryland and Virginia were 18-7 in the opening round of the playoffs. At least one unbeaten will fall this week when Urbana (10-0) hosts Hereford (11-0) in a Maryland 2A semifinal.