David Pindell fell facedown on the turf with time ticking down and his team clinging to a two-point lead over its rival in front of a raucous crowd.
The Oakland Mills quarterback was sandwiched between two Hammond defenders on a third-and-long with two minutes remaining in a shootout between two skilled offenses, and the Scorpions needed just one more first down to potentially ice the game. That play, though, was a fourth-and-13 from the Hammond 30-yard line.
Pindell got up, gathered himself and stepped to the line. With Hammond bringing pressure, he tossed a pass down the sideline to wide receiver Shawn Harris, who came down with it for a 20-yard gain. Moments later, Tre Hopkins plowed through the Golden Bears’ defense to give the Scorpions their final touchdown in a 40-31 homecoming victory in Columbia.
“I know he’s tough, so I knew he was going to get up for it and help us win,” Harris said. “By him making that play, it just shows how much of a leader he is.”
Pindell’s talent was on full display as he completed 15 of 18 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another to lead Oakland Mills to its first homecoming win in more than a decade.
When Hammond (2-1) took a 14-6 lead in the first quarter, Pindell responded by tossing two high-arcing touchdown passes to Harris, who finished with eight catches for 97 yards, to take the lead back.
And once the Scorpions (3-0) took the lead, Hopkins took over both on the ground and through the air. The lithe and shifty back ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries while also grabbing five passes for 99 yards. The speedster posed problems in the Hammond defense all night, and in fear of a kickoff return touchdown, the Golden Bears didn’t kick deep once.
Hammond tested Oakland Mills, which won its first two games by a combined 105-0 margin, for the first time this season. Quarterback Andrew Comeau rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns, including a 51-yard scamper in the third quarter.
But the Scorpions limited Comeau through the air, allowing only three completions and picking him off four times.
Entering the game, Scorpions Coach Thomas Browne was nervous about how his team would respond.
“Yes, 100 percent,” Browne said when asked about his concerns about a stiff opponent. “That’s one of the things we talked about in the locker room beforehand as a coaching staff is how we will respond to adversity, and so you could see some looks on some of the kids’ faces at first. . . . It took a while for our guys to get going, but I was happy with the way they closed the game out.”