Damascus has won four state titles over the past five years, and its 11 state championships — all won after 1980 — put the Montgomery County program just one behind Seneca Valley for the most in state history.
“It feels different because of everything we went through,” Wallich said. “There was a lot of wrong publicity about our program, and it’s just about as sweet of a win as I’ve ever had.”
Damascus (12-2) had won 53 consecutive games, which was believed to be country’s longest winning streak, and three straight state titles when it fell to Oakdale in the Maryland 2A quarterfinals in 2018. It was the first time most Damascus players experienced a loss in high school.
Throughout offseason training, that defeat motivated Damascus players to retake the state crown even as controversy engulfed Damascus’s community after a locker room hazing incident in 2018 led to multiple junior varsity players being charged with first-degree rape.
“It’s been a long journey,” Wallich said. “Football is a grind anyway regardless of what you’re going through. When you add what we went through on top of that, it’s a lot. It felt really good to just exhale a little bit.”
Defensive end Bryan Bresee, Damascus’s leader, was one player who ensured the Swarmin’ Hornets would win against Linganore (12-2). The nation’s top recruit played with a broken left hand he suffered in his team’s 21-14 win over Huntingtown last week. A green cast covered his left hand, but the Clemson commit even scored his third rushing touchdown this season in the first quarter.
“I was like, ‘I’m not missing my last game of high school for anything,’ ” Bresee said.
Damascus took a 24-0 lead into halftime and started a running clock midway through the fourth quarter when quarterback Michael O’Neil threw his third touchdown pass.
The Swarmin’ Hornets started the season with a pair of losses after forfeiting their season opener because of an illegal offseason practice and falling to Quince Orchard. Damascus dominated opponents from there, including beating last year’s Maryland 3A champion, Franklin, by 17 points in the state quarterfinals.
And when the clock read zeros Thursday, what was clear for years became apparent again: Damascus is one of Maryland’s most dominant teams.