St. Charles blanks Northern
Hughes scores twice for Spartans
On a week that began in disappointing fashion for the Northern High School football team, the Patriots were unable to finish it on a high note as they were blanked by host St. Charles in a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Potomac Division contest on Friday night.
Northern ( 0- 8, 0- 5 SMAC Potomac) began the season 4- 3 on the field and appeared on the verge of earning the school’s first postseason berth since 2003, but it was stripped of those four victories after an investigation by the Calvert County Student Services found the team had used ineligible players. Head coach Darren DeMeio was suspended for the remainder of the season and defensive coordinator Jeff Cranford was promoted to interim head coach.
“It was a tough week, but what I am most proud of is none of the kids quit,” said Cranford, who had previously been the defensive coordinator at Southern High School in Anne Arundel County where he assumed the head coaching duties for two games, both wins. “We went from not even knowing if we were going to have a team on Monday to a full week of practice. The kids never gave up. They came here and played hard, but the mental mistakes killed us.”
While Northern struggled to mount any drives in the first half against a stingy Spartans defense, St. Charles — playing on its senior night — needed only a handful of plays to find the end zone twice during a 90- second span of the second quarter. Tailback Jeffrey Hughes broke the scoreless deadlock when he raced 75 yards on a sweep left to give the Spartans a 7- 0 lead with 7: 30 left in the half.
After Northern turned the ball over on its second play from scrimmage on the ensuing possession, Hughes raced 29 yards off left tackle to reach the Patriots 1- yard line. Then on first down and goal, Hughes took the handoff from quarterback Marlon Brown and plowed forward for another touchdown. Christian Wood converted the second of his two extra points in the contest to push the lead to 14- 0.
“Jeffrey is definitely a game- changer,” said St. Charles head coach Avery Williams, whose team will be at Great Mills for a 6 p. m. Friday kickoff. The Hornets fell to North Point in Week 8, 35- 3. “He’s been making plays like that all season for us, basically for the past two seasons. I was proud of the seniors. This was their night and the underclassmen were intent on seeing them get a win tonight. Northern played hard all the way to the end.”
St. Charles ( 3- 5, 1- 3) nearly added to its lead late in the second quarter when by marching 40 yards in eight plays.
Hughes carried three times for 32 yards on the drive and Jonte Thomas had three carries for another nine yards, but the half expired when Brown attempted to score on a keeper and was shoved out of bounds at the Northern 14.
The Patriots spent much of the second half in St. Charles territory, even starting two drives on the Spartans side of the field. But penalties and turnovers doomed several drives and another ended two yards short of a first down at the St. Charles 5.
On its last two possessions of the game, Northern drives ended inside the Spartans 30. Patriots quarterback Gunnar Christianson was intercepted on his first pass of the fourth quarter, then completed three passes for 34 yards on the next drive to bring the Patriots to the St. Charles 26, but his next four passes were all incomplete.
Following a St Charles punt, Christianson connected with Colten King on a 40-yard strike down the right sideline to bring the Patriots to the Spartans 30, but his last two passes sailed off target and time expired with the hosts being able to claim a shutout over the Patriots.
The Patriots will host McDonough at 7 p.m. Friday. The Rams fell to Lackey in Week 8, 41-6.
The St. Charles offense takes over deep in into own territory on Friday night against Northern after the Spartans prevented the Patriots from getting into the end zone on their best drive of the night. St. Charles won 14-0.