Matt Leone abandoned his assignment as soon as his foot struck the ball.
During a kickoff, Mount Hebron’s kickers are taught to hang back as the last line of defense. But Leone’s instincts usurped his decision making after the Vikings’ first touchdown against Long Reach Friday night.
The junior swung his leg and kept on sprinting, choosing a direct line to the returner and blasting the ball again – this time with his helmet – to force a fumble that would lead to a touchdown in a 38-16 win for Mount Hebron (2-5).
“I kind of forgot about the whole safety part,” Leone said. “I was used to just running down there and blowing up the wedge, using my instincts, so that’s what I did.”
Leone is not the Vikings’ regular kicker, but he does have specialist experience from kicking on his middle school squad while playing midfielder on the soccer team.
Andrew Humm had an achey hamstring, so Mount Hebron turned to Leone, a weakside linebacker and goal line back who has since given up soccer for lacrosse, to set the tone.
“We got off to a good start, which is always important,” Coach Phil Zacharias said. “We made some plays on special teams.”
Including two rushing touchdowns and two extra points, Leone registered 14 points for the Mustangs. Zacharias said Leone would have had another six, but an interception return for a touchdown was called back for a block in the back.
Marriotts Ridge (3-3) held Hammond to its lowest scoring output of the season in a 14-10 Mustangs’ victory. Coach Marcus Lewis said generating pressure was the key to “probably our best defensive effort of the year.”
Jordan Chandler was a “disruptive force” from his linebacker spot. Chandler leads the team with 10 tackles for loss. In addition to setting the edge on Friday, he handled 21 carries for 95 yards and both of the Mustangs’ touchdowns.
River Hill (6-0) and Howard (6-0) are still unbeaten. Brian Kirbyand Brady Daniel each had eight solo tackles in River Hill’s 34-7 win over Wilde Lake. . . . Glenelg (3-2) pared the number of undefeated teams in the conference from three to two with a physical 35-6 win over Oakland Mills on Friday night.