St. Charles blanks McDonough
Spartans get two touchdowns in third quarter
Football coaches often remind their players that the game is scoreless at halftime regarding of what the scoreboard actually might reflect at the intermission. On Friday evening when St. Charles High School and McDonough met in Waldorf, both coaches could make that statement honestly after the opening 24 minutes.
St. Charles (1-1 overall) had spent much of the first half in McDonough territory, but it had failed to capitalize on several good scoring chances. The Spartans did not waste much time getting on the board at the outset of the third quarter as Jeffrey Hughes returned the second half kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown and the hosts won 14-0.
The kickoff return proved to be doubly rewarding for Hughes. Late in the second quarter he was hit hard after dropping a screen pass and stayed on the field for several minutes before finally walking off under his own power. Hughes sat out the remainder of the first half, but he made his presence known at the outset of the third quarter with the first of two plays that decided the outcome.
“He followed his blocks and found a hole and his natural ability did the rest,” St. Charles head coach Avery Williams said. “We work a lot on special teams and it paid off tonight. That was a great team effort and [Hughes] did his part.”
Hughes downplayed his role in the victory, commending his teammates for their part in the return.
“I just watched the blocks develop and looked for a hole,” Hughes said. “My teammates did a great job blocking. It was a total team effort tonight. The first half was tough, but we knew that we could come out and execute in the second half and get the win.”
Midway through the third quarter, the Spartans defense capped a shutout by setting up the team’s second score. McDonough quarterback William Golden was sacked and fumbled and St. Charles linebacker Jonathan Ross picked up the loose ball and returned it to the Rams 4-yard line. Three plays later, Alpha Barry scored from a yard out to extend the Spartans’ lead to 14-0.
“We only have 26 guys and I know there’s no such thing as a moral victory, but I loved the effort of my guys tonight,” McDonough first-year head coach Jonathan Briscoe said. “These guys fought the whole game. I was proud of how they played in both halves. Really, two plays decided the game. [Hughes] is a tremendous athlete.”
McDonough’s defense had been equally as stingy in the first half. On three different occasions, St. Charles started a drive in Rams territory, including one when McDonough punter Brant Butler inadvertently knelt at his own 13 while fielding a bouncing snap. The Spartans proceeded to lose 11 yards in four plays and turned the ball over on downs.
“We had some opportunities in the first half that we could not take advantage of,” Williams said. “That’s something that we talked about at halftime. We had a slow start last week as well. But I thought we executed a lot better in the second half.”
McDonough failed to cross midfield in the first half, but after Hughes returned the second half kickoff for a touchdown, it countered with a good return from Christopher Proctor who brought the ball to the Spartans’ 38. But the Rams did not produce a first down on the drive and were forced to punt without netting a single yard.
The Spartans will host Lackey at 7 p.m. Friday. The Chargers fell to North Point in Week 2, 35-15. The Rams will host Chopticon at 7 p.m. Friday, a Braves team that rallied back to beat Thomas Stone in Week 2, 21-7.
The McDonough offense found little success against St. Charles on Friday evening. The Spartans blanked the Rams 14-0, limiting the visitors to a grand total of four plays beyond midfield.