St. Charles football beats Patuxent, keeps spotless record
Spartans hold off Panthers at the end to go to 4-0
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.”
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.
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.