Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the last name of Gwynn Park cornerback Joe Hayman. This version has been corrected.
One of the cornerbacks left in the dust on the play was Joe Hayman. He jogged back to his unhappy sideline shortly afterward, and started to prepare for his kick return duties. But before he headed out onto the field, he turned to his coach, Danny Hayes, and told Hayes he’d get the score back for him.
Hayman honored his word — using a dazzling spin move to spring free on the following kickoff, returning it 86 yards for a score — then added a decisive touchdown run and interception in the second half to lead Gwynn Park to a 35-19 victory over Potomac on a sweltering day in Oxon Hill.
“I knew I had to return the kick because they got an early touchdown when the game started. Kind of my fault,” said Hayman. “I came back.”
That was the theme of the day – answering – especially in the first half. Potomac’s offense was running hot, thanks to a hurry-up passing game keyed by quarterback Antonio Washington, who found Cameron Gulley on an 11-yard touchdown pass on the Wolverines’ second possession. Gwynn Park responded with a methodical drive that ended with a 19-yard touchdown run by Mark Bronson, and later in the second quarter, following Washington’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Dionzae Footé on fourth down, the Jackets used a 21-yard pass from Jay Adams to Bronson to set up a one-yard touchdown from Eddie Gross. That made it 21-19 with just under a minute left in the first half – and Potomac looked gassed in the second half.
“The heat really got to us today,” said Potomac Coach Ronnie Crump. “We pretty much gave it to them.”
Hayman gave Gwynn Park the lead for good on his second touchdown of the day, a 10-yard burst with 6:30 remaining in the third quarter. Then on the next possession, he got vengeance from his corner slot, reading Washington’s eyes on a three step drop, then slipping under a route and intercepting a pass on fourth down deep inside Jackets territory.
“He just cruises. He puts it on cruise control,” said Hayes of Hayman.
Hayes received a workman-like performance from Bronson, who rushed for 89 yards on 22 carries. He addressed his team after the game with the weaknesses he identified Saturday, pass coverage being one of them. But during the speech, looking in his players’ direction, including at Haymon, he said:
“When those curtains open, you better put on a show. People are paying five dollars apiece to see a show. You put on a show today,” Hayes said.
●DUNBAR 28, OXON HILL 0: The Crimson Tide offense stalled for much of the first half at Friendly High and entered halftime with just a one-possession lead thanks to a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown. But in the second half, Dunbar senior quarterback Lamel Matthews threw for two touchdowns as the Crimson Tide (2-0) beat its former coach, Craig Jefferies, to record its second shutout to start the season. Dunbar defeated McKinley, 39-0, last week. Aside from accumulating too many penalties, first-year Dunbar Coach Jerron Joe said he is encouraged by his team’s showing thus far.
“If we can eliminate the penalties, I think we can be a real good football team,” Joe said.