Patuxent's Delonte Janey thought something was wrong with him. Every person he spoke to told him the Panthers stood no chance against first-year school Huntingtown, playing its first game led by an accomplished coaching staff.
After Patuxent's 27-16 road victory in front of an estimated 4,000 fans behind the shiny new building, one thing was clear -- there is nothing wrong with the Panthers' senior quarterback.
Janey ran for two touchdowns, threw a beautiful 74-yard scoring pass on the final play of the first half, intercepted a pass, and played every down except for special teams in the season-opening victory.
"Nobody thought we'd win. People at our school didn't even think we'd win," Janey said. "I was wondering what they were thinking. I mean, it's their first game. I figured we'd at least get a couple people with us."
Janey (112 yards rushing, 95 passing) made believers out of the Hurricanes. Midway through the first quarter, he opened the scoring with an eight-yard touchdown run, which he set up two plays earlier with a 56-yard jaunt.
After junior Robert McClain's interception at the Patuxent 26 with 15 seconds left in the first half, Janey tossed a perfect spiral that junior Gabe Loube caught in stride at midfield and scampered the rest of the way to put Patuxent up 20-0.
"Every day at practice, I under-throw him because he's so fast," Janey said of Loube, who was playing in his first organized football game. "When I threw it, I was saying, 'Please don't drop it, please don't drop it.' "
It was a big victory for Patuxent, which plays SMAC powers Westlake and Thomas Stone the next two weeks. Last year, the Panthers lost to the same two opponents following a tough season-opening loss to eventual Maryland 3A champion Linganore, and that essentially crushed Patuxent's playoff hopes before October.
"After last year, [winning this game] is a big difference going into the next two," Patuxent Coach Steve Crounse said.
Huntingtown cut Patuxent's lead to 20-16 on a 22-yard fumble return by senior Bobby Brown and a 76-yard run by senior Nathan Coates with four minutes to play.
Led by former All-Met Coach of the Year Jerry Franks and several other experienced sideliners, Huntingtown opened with grades 9 through 12 and plenty of intrigue. The Hurricanes have several players with varsity experience and they do not expect to struggle like a typical rookie program.
"Our expectations are to be successful," Franks said. "We're a first-year school, but we can't use that as an excuse to lose. . . . We're trying to win games. When it got to 20-16, it was a competitive game, but we didn't have one more play in us."
Janey did. On a fourth and two at the Huntingtown 22 with less than two minutes to play, Janey kept the ball on an option to the right. He hit the corner and scooted to the clinching touchdown.