Steven Anderson occasionally went to the Damascus practice field last season, but all he could do was watch. He could not put on shoulder pads or a green and gold uniform. He was relegated to being a spectator. So far, however, the wait has been worthwhile.
For the third consecutive game, Anderson rushed for more than 100 yards, and his two third-quarter touchdowns led the second-ranked Swarmin' Hornets to a 28-7 victory over No. 15 Linganore last night in a nonleague meeting of perennial state title contenders before an overflow crowd of 2,500 in Frederick.
Anderson's 19-yard touchdown run put Damascus in front 14-7. After a defensive stop, Anderson burst 50 yards up the middle for his fifth touchdown of the season. He also ran for two-point conversions after both touchdowns, and the 5-foot-11, 211-pound senior finished with a season-high 132 yards on 20 carries.
It was a most satisfying game for Anderson, who played just one game last season before being kicked off the team at Urbana. He said he contested the punishment, had his appeal denied and subsequently transferred to Damascus, where he was unable to play for his new school until this season.
"They couldn't stop him from coming and watching practice," Damascus Coach Dan Makosy said. "He's a smart player. He's like a veteran player now."
Said Anderson: "It was hard sitting out last year, really hard. But I looked to the future. I don't dwell. I can't change the past. I've got my senior year and I'm going to make the best of it. We're going to win a state championship."
Damascus (3-0) won the 2003 title and nearly reached that goal again last season, advancing to the Maryland 4A title game while relying heavily on All-Met running back Matt Reidy. Although the Hornets are more balanced offensively now, with sophomore quarterback Kyle Frazier leading a stronger passing game, their emphasis remains on the run.
Linganore (2-1) held Damascus to 31 yards on 22 carries in the first half, but then the Hornets got going on the first series after halftime.
Tom Cosgrove, who caught a 29-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, gained 31 yards on a reverse and Frazier turned a well-defended shuffle pass into a 10-yard scramble. Those plays seemed to loosen the defense, and soon Anderson was rumbling up the middle.
"We just wanted to come out and show the first half was a fluke," said Anderson, adding he was well aware of the Damascus-Linganore rivalry from his days at Urbana. "We came out and played smash-mouth football and that's our style."
Anderson's second touchdown and conversion run made it 22-7, and that was more than enough for the Damascus defense. Cornerback Jimmy Shay intercepted three passes, and the Hornets did not allow more than two first downs on any drive.
"It's a good win," Makosy said. "Linganore is always tough."