St. Charles blanks McDonough

Spar­tans get two touch­downs in third quar­ter

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

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.

STAFF PHOTO BY TED BLACK

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.

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