After Sherwood junior kicker Josh Firestone missed an extra point that would have given the Warriors the lead late in the fourth quarter of their Montgomery 4A East Division contest against Springbrook last night, he was convinced he had lost the game for his team.
But given a second chance in overtime, Firestone came through, booting a 39-yard field goal to give Sherwood a 15-12 victory in front of approximately 3,000 fans in Sandy Spring.
"After I missed the extra point, I thought that was it," said Firestone, who kicked field goals of 39 and 23 yards in regulation of both teams' season opener. "But all my teammates told me to keep my head up. . . . I just tried to think like I was on the practice field."
Since Sherwood (1-0, 1-0) had the ball first in overtime, the Warriors had to hold Springbrook (0-1, 0-1) without points to seal their victory. They gave up six net yards, and when a Springbrook field goal attempt went wide, they could celebrate their first victory under Coach Al Thomas.
Following the game, the Warriors gave an emotional Thomas, who went 188-37 with seven state titles in 20 years with Damascus and Seneca Valley, the game ball.
"Obviously I'm happy, I'm very excited," said Thomas, a member of the Maryland Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. "We're clearly an undermanned football team. But when we went into overtime, I said to a coach, 'We may lose this game, but our kids have played with a lot of heart.' "
The Warriors, who have just three players who were varsity starters last year, made plenty of mistakes. In addition to the missed extra point, they lost two fumbles and barely recovered several more, threw an interception and committed six penalties.
After falling behind 12-3, Sherwood came alive. The defense, which gave up 138 rushing yards and 12 first downs in the first half and the Blue Devils' first drive of the second half, yielded 75 yards and two first downs the rest of the way. The offense, meantime, rallied behind sophomore quarterback Deontay Twyman. In his first varsity start, the 5-foot-9, 127-pound Twyman completed 11 of 22 passes for 208 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
"He's going to be something special," said senior wide receiver Chris Sheahin, who caught four of Twyman's passes for 121 yards.
Twyman was at his best in the fourth quarter. With his team down six, he threw two perfect passes -- the first for 54 yards to Sheahin, who had run a post-corner route, and the second a 32-yard strike to junior Cory Estrain for a score. That touchdown tied the game at 12, but Firestone's missed extra point set the stage for his redemption.
The news was not all good for Sherwood, which lost its top lineman -- 6-4, 266-pound Paul Pinegar, a two-way starter -- to a broken ankle early in the first quarter.