After hobbling through the first half of the season with nagging foot and ankle injuries, Damascus senior All-Met running back Matt Reidy finally is starting to feel healthy. And it showed last night in the sixth-ranked Hornets' 41-21 victory over Sherwood in a Montgomery 4A East Division game in Damascus.
In front of approximately 2,200 fans, Reidy carried the ball 30 times for a season-high 202 yards and two touchdowns, including a 74-yard burst with 8 minutes 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter that finally subdued an undermanned but determined Sherwood team.
"That's a good Matt Reidy day," said Damascus Coach Dan Makosy, whose team improved to 6-1, 4-0. "He's getting healthy. That's what we hope to do down the road."
Last year, in four playoff games en route to the Maryland 4A championship, Reidy carried the ball 150 times. This season, before last night, Reidy had sat out one game, played just one offensive possession in another and fought through pain to rush for more than 100 yards in each of the Hornets' other four games. Last night, however, he finally appeared physically ready to shoulder a work load similar to last season. He rarely left the field, making several big hits on defense, blocking a field goal attempt by Sherwood (5-2, 3-1) throwing a two-point conversion pass to junior Austin Bernardo and catching a pass for 21 yards.
And on his 74-yard score, his longest run of the year, Reidy showed he has speed to go with his between-the-tackles toughness.
"I've always had speed, I just haven't been able to show it this year because I've been injured," Reidy said.
The play of Reidy, two long kickoff returns and improved defense in the second half were just enough to overcome the Warriors and their precocious quarterback Deontay Twyman. A 5-foot-9, 127-pound sophomore, Twyman completed 20 of 35 passes for 250 yards, two touchdowns to senior Ben Everett (7 receptions, 89 yards) and two interceptions.
"He's going to be amazing by his senior year," Reidy said.
Sherwood, which trailed 28-21 after a wild first half that included 398 yards of total offense, had its chances in the second half. The Warriors started their second, third and fourth possessions of the second half from the Damascus yard lines of 21, 42 and 41, respectively, but could not score. Immediately after the fourth possession, Reidy ripped off his long touchdown.
The Warriors also gave up two big special teams plays in the first half -- an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Damascus senior Travis Wertz and a 72-yard kickoff return by Damascus sophomore Tom Cosgrove that set up another score.
"We had some trouble on special teams in practice, and it continued," said Sherwood Coach Al Thomas, who coached Damascus to a 59-13 record and two state titles from 1988 to 1993. "They were better than us. That's the bottom line."