St. Charles foot­ball beats Patux­ent, keeps spot­less record

Spar­tans hold off Pan­thers at the end to go to 4-0

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

If any­one on the St. Charles Spar­tans’ side of the field har­bored any no­tion that the team would be able to coast to its fourth straight win on Fri­day night against the vis­it­ing, and still win­less, Patux­ent Pan­thers, St. Charles head coach Patrick Ornd­off had a mes­sage for them.

“I sat down here in the pregame speech and said, ‘If you think that team is go­ing to lay down be­cause you’re 3-0 and they’re 0-3, you’re out of your mind,’” he said. “‘That’s a tough group of kids that comes from good coaches. They’re go­ing to be strong and phys­i­cal. They’re go­ing to put it to you.’”

Patux­ent gave St. Charles all it could han­dle, but ul­ti­mately the hosts were able to gut out a 14-8 vic­tory in the South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cross­over con­test to move to 4-0.

Tied through three quar­ters, St. Charles scored the game-win­ning touch­down on Kameron Blount’s 15-yard pass to Frank Owens with 9 min­utes 8 sec­onds re­main­ing. The Spar­tans have sur­vived sev­eral close calls early in the sea­son, with three of their four wins com­ing by six points or less.

“We’ve been tested ev­ery week that we’ve come out here,” said Jevon Hamil­ton of St. Charles. “Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and this week, we came out here and got tested but we stayed to­gether as a team. Com­ing to­gether as a team re­ally helped us get this win tonight. No­body hung their heads.”

It might have been easy to get dis­cour­aged in the first half, as Patux­ent (0-4 over­all) found far more suc­cess mov­ing the ball. Of the Pan­thers’ five first-half pos­ses­sions, only one ended in a punt and the team had the ball in­side the St. Charles 30-yard line on each of the other four. One pos­ses­sion ended with an in­ter­cep­tion just in front of the goal line, while the Pan­thers turned the ball over on downs on the other three drives at the 27, 19 and 13.

Mean­while, St. Charles earned just two first downs to Patux­ent’s seven in the first half, with both of the Spar­tans’ com­ing on the fi­nal pos­ses­sion of the half. But the Pan­thers were un­able to take ad­van­tage over the first 24 min­utes and the teams went to the half score­less.

“We didn’t fin­ish,” Patux­ent head coach Nick Allen said. “We strug­gled throw­ing the ball. They’re big and fast up front and any­time we were in pass pro­tec­tion they had guys com­ing, so it was hard to get a pass off. We missed on a cou­ple screens, missed on a cou­ple things here and there and just couldn’t fin­ish, es­pe­cially early.”

St. Charles started to find a rhythm on of­fense in the third quar­ter and broke through on Kameron Blount’s 16-yard scam­per into the end zone in the fi­nal minute of the pe­riod. With the suc­cess­ful 2-point con­ver­sion pass from Blount to Kon­ner Blount that fol­lowed, the Spar­tans led 8-0.

“In the begin­ning our of­fense and our de­fense were mov­ing slow,” said Kameron Blount, who rushed for a team-high 77 yards and also passed for 110. “On the side­lines and at half­time, I was try­ing to get my guys fo­cused, telling them that we just had to work hard and block. If they block, I was just go­ing to run be­hind them. I was able to find holes and we were able to get in the end zone twice and get the win for our team.”

Patux­ent re­sponded to St. Charles’ score im­me­di­ately, as Noah Bibb re­turned the en­su­ing kick­off in­side the Spar­tans’ 45. St. Charles was also flagged for two 15-yard penal­ties on the play, giv­ing the Pan­thers the ball at the 15. Da­jore Brooks made the penal­ties hurt, as he car­ried the ball in for the score on the very next play and then tied the game on a suc­cess­ful 2-point run. Brooks rushed 27 times for a game-high 152 yards.

“I thought we ran the ball pretty well for be­ing the smaller, more in­ex­pe­ri­enced line,” Allen said. “I thought our guys up front re­ally got af­ter it to­day, and Da­jore Brooks runs like a man.”

St. Charles proved up to the test, de­liv­er­ing per­haps its most im­pres­sive of­fen­sive se­ries of the night fol­low­ing Patux­ent’s touch­down. Mix­ing runs by Blount and Rar­day Bur­rell with some quick passes, the Spar­tans drove 65 yards in nine plays and scored the win­ning touch­down on Blount’s pass to Owens. The hosts were also aided by a crit­i­cal pass in­ter­fer­ence penalty on Patux­ent on a fourth down-and-8

play at the Patux­ent 41 that could have cut the se­ries short.

Af­ter fum­bling away the sub­se­quent kick­off, Patux­ent’s de­fense was able to pre­vent St. Charles from adding to the lead and then drove as far as the St. Charles 43 but turned the ball over on downs there with 3:40 re­main­ing in the game. The Pan­thers never had an­other chance, as the Spar­tans were able to grind out three first downs to suc­cess­fully run out the clock.

“We preach one more than them. We need one more point than the other team,” Ornd­off said. “Some­times you’d like to get more than one more than them, but you only need one more. We were sloppy of­fen­sively in the first half. We kind of found our groove in the sec­ond half with a lit­tle bit of run­ning with the quar­ter­back and some quick game. Kam kind of came

into his own as a quar­ter­back.”

Still in search of its first win, Patux­ent is sched­uled to host McDonough at 7 p.m. Fri­day ver­sus a Rams team (1-3) that fell to Thomas Stone in Week 4, 38-28. Through four weeks, the teams the Pan­thers have played this sea­son are a com­bined 16-0.

“We’re get­ting bet­ter. We’re def­i­nitely get­ting bet­ter,” Allen said. “It doesn’t work out well for a young, in­ex­pe­ri­enced foot­ball team to play four un­de­feated teams in a row. That’s al­ways tough, not say­ing the rest of our sched­ule is any eas­ier, but we just have to keep work­ing and keep get­ting bet­ter. We made a huge stride tonight.”

St. Charles is sched­uled to travel to North­ern for 7 p.m. Fri­day kick­off in a bat­tle of still-un­beaten teams af­ter the Pa­tri­ots (4-0) edged Great Mills late 22-21. Both teams also re­side in the Class 3A South Re­gion, so the game holds po­ten­tial ram­i­fi­ca­tions be­yond the reg­u­lar sea­son.

“We’re in that weird spot right now where we were 3-0, now 4-0, and they’ve never re­ally had an un­de­feated start,” said Ornd­off, in his first year with the still-young Spar­tans pro­gram. “Now there’s a lit­tle bit of mo­men­tum, a lit­tle bit of swag­ger and that’s not a bad thing. We just have to work on hon­ing it in, and that’s my job.”

“We’ve been do­ing OK. We’re 4-0,” added Kameron Blount. “We sur­vived tonight and the other three games, but we still have way more work to do. We’re still not there yet. We have a new coach, so we have to just keep lis­ten­ing to him and by the end of the sea­son we should be good. But we still have a lot of work to do.”

PHOTO BY ALEX SCHLOGEL

Kameron Blount of St. Charles tosses a lat­eral to Javari Wat­son dur­ing the Spar­tans’ game with the vis­it­ing Patux­ent Pan­thers on Fri­day night. Blount rushed for a touch­down and passed for an­other in the Spar­tans’ 14-8 win.

PHOTO BY ALEX SCHLOGEL

Patux­ent quar­ter­back Dy­lan Lovett tries to find some run­ning room while be­ing pur­sued by Jevon Hamil­ton of St. Charles dur­ing the teams’ game at St. Charles on Fri­day night. The host Spar­tans came out on top of a 14-8 de­ci­sion.

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