Queen Anne’s stumbles, then nabs big victory
D’Angelo passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns
PRINCESS ANNE — Four minutes into Friday night’s game, Queen Anne’s County High’s football team trailed 7-0 against a Washington team it hasn’t lost to since 2003.
A fumbled opening kickoff led to a short field for the Jaguars, who drove 30 yards for the game’s first score.
It would be Washington’s only score, however, as the Lions reeled off seven straight unanswered touchdowns, running the clock for almost the entire second half in a 49-7 blowout.
Jykel Garner, receiving the opening kickoff at his team’s 17-yard line, charged into the wedge and tried to push through. But a Jaguar player knocked the ball loose at the 30. Washington recovered the fumble.
In the absence of starting quarterback Anthony Snyder — ejected during the Sept. 9 game at Kent County — backup Eric Ballard slid into the role and guided the Jaguars (0-3) on the five-play drive, completing two passes to 6-foot-4 wideout Tyler Poulson along the way.
Ballard capped the drive with a 3-yard option scoring run. Cooper Hicks booted the point to make it 7-0.
“I’m not going to put the fumble off on the bus ride,” Lions head coach Donny Graef said. “Washington’s got some athletes on their team.”
Queen Anne’s (3-0) replied quickly, Garner avenging his early miscue with a 39-yard touchdown run, which capped a five-play drive. Luke Metrinko’s PAT tied the game midway through the first quarter.
After allowing the early score, the Lion defense brought the Jaguars’ ground game to a halt. Ballard, a capable passer, went to the air instead, He found Poulson twice more before half for first-down catches, and his 30-yard completion to Keionte Nutter in the second was Washington’s longest play from scrimmage.
But two first-half interceptions, one by Chris Crow on the first play of the second quarter, the second by Ryan Muller midway through that period, killed promising drives.
Queen Anne’s, meantime, aired the ball out as well, senior quarterback Mike D’Angelo riddling the Jaguars with long strikes.
“We could get into the football particulars, cover-3 and all that, but really, we just needed to give Mike the chance to throw the ball a little,” Graef said. “He’s got a good arm, and he puts the ball in the right place.”
D’Angelo’s first attempt set up Queen Anne’s second score, a 78yard pass to Tyler Bonner on the first snap after Crow’s pickoff. Another Metrinko PAT (he went 7-for-7 on the night) made it 14-7.
On the next Lion drive, a holding penalty erased a 75-yard Garner score and put the Lions in a firstand-20 from their own 15-yard line. D’Angelo made it moot on the very next play, though, hitting C.J. Rogers deep on the left hash for an 85-yard score to put Queen Anne’s up 21-7.
“They’re definitely a great team,” Washington second-year head coach Greg Lasinski said. “And we have a couple of guys who can throw the ball. Without having Anthony here, Eric, who was in the running for the starting job too, he did a great job, I think, passing.
“But the turnovers hurt us,” Lasinski added. “I told the guys, we have proved now we’re not going to win with [turnovers], so that’s something that we’ve got to cut down on.”
Diondre Collins received the next D’Angelo completion, a 43-yard score that made it 28-7 midway through the second. D’Angelo, who compiled a perfect NFL passer rating of 158.3 on the night, was 5 for 6 for 261 yards and four scores. The last one came late in the second, a 70-yard strike to Wyatt Pinder that made it 35-7.
Though Muller’s pickoff, which he ran back into the Washington red zone, came with a minute left in the first half, the Lions could not capitalize before time ran out. Brandon Hickman wasted little time in setting up the running clock after intermission, though, his 17-yard run with 10 minutes, 24 seconds left in the third making it 42-7 following a sixth Metrinko point-after.
Backup quarterback Pat Freeman threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Bonner on the first play of the fourth quarter to account for the final margin.
Washington visits Snow Hill at 6 p.m. Friday; Queen Anne’s County visits Sussex Central, Del. at 7 p.m. Snow Hill, which dressed just 14 players in Week 2, forfeited Friday night’s game at Arcadia, Va., due to insufficient numbers, but is expected to dress 18-19 players this week, according to second-year coach Tim Richo.
Notes: The Lions last lost to Washington, at home, in Week 7 of the 2003 season, 19-13. The Jaguars, who began the 2003 campaign 0-3, eventually finished 6-4, made the playoffs, and won the Class 1A East Region; they have not had a winning season since . ... Queen Anne’s and Washington have played each other in football just eight times in the last 36 years; Queen Anne’s has won six of those games . ... The Lions ran just 11 offensive plays after halftime . ... When 33-year Stephen Decatur coach Bob Knox stepped down in August due to a family illness, Graef, now in his 22nd season, is the most tenured active Bayside football coach . ... The chain crew for Friday night’s game included Bayside Conference President Clarence Johnson, Washington High baseball coach Bryan Laird, and former Washington principal Keith O’Neal, who was the team’s coach for more than 20 years, including its 2003 run into the state semifinals.
Follow me on Twitter: @Davetalkssports.