Queen Anne’s tack­les Bull­dogs, reach 8-1

Q. Anne’s 19 — N. Car­o­line 7 Q. Anne’s lim­its Car­o­line stand­out Bai­ley to 67 yards

Record Observer - - Sports - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

CENTREVILLE — The Bull­dogs tried ev­ery­thing they could to score against Queen Anne’s County High’s foot­ball team Fri­day even­ing at Li­ons Sta­dium. Their prob­lem was the Li­ons con­tin­ued to make tack­les.

North Car­o­line’s top of­fen­sive threat David Bai­ley kept try­ing to break free but a Queen Anne’s de­fender or de­fend­ers were usu­ally there to pull him down.

In a bat­tle of two 7-1 teams, tack­ling proved the dif­fer­ence, along with four North Car­o­line turnovers.

Bran­don Hick­man ran for two touch­downs and the Li­ons got un­ex­pected of­fense from Gar­rett Bowen on their way to a 19-7 win.

“Our de­fense played phe­nom­e­nal,” said Li­ons cap­tain Mikey Mon­roe. “We prac­tice tack­ling a lot and that right there showed our tack­ling. Ob­vi­ously we’re not per­fect, we miss tack­les, but when it came down to it we made tack­les and we stopped them at the line; we tack­led them for a loss. That’s hard to beat right there, when you have 11 guys do­ing that.”

Bowen turned a short pass into a 50-yard touch­down with just 39 sec­onds left in the first half to put the Li­ons in front to stay. He also con­trib­uted a 49-yard run in the third quar­ter that set up the Li­ons’ fi­nal touch­down.

On a first-and-10 from Queen Anne’s’ 34-yard line, Bowen car­ried on a counter-left through a large hole and raced to­ward the corner of the end zone be­fore be­ing dragged down by North

Car­o­line’s J’Quan Mur­ray at the Bull­dogs’ 17. Three plays later Hick­man burst through the mid­dle of the de­fense for a 7-yard touch­down, which capped the scor­ing with 4 min­utes, 31 sec­onds left in the third quar­ter.

The Bull­dogs blocked the ex­tra-point at­tempt as they had done af­ter Queen Anne’s se­cond touch­down.

In an other wise solid game for Queen Anne’s, poor ex­e­cu­tion by its punt and kick­ing teams, and close to 90 yards in penal­ties, left some room for im­prove­ment as the post­sea­son looms.

The Li­ons’ de­fense held Bai­ley to 67 yards on 25 car­ries with some neg­a­tive yardage re­sult­ing from sacks. Bai­ley at­tempted sev­eral passes from a Wild­cat set in an at­tempt to get the Bull­dogs’ of­fense on track.

“Both teams played well de­fen­sively,” Li­ons head coach Donny Graef said. “In the end we de­fended a lit­tle bit bet­ter, made some plays, some in­ter­cep­tions. We played good enough to win. A lit­tle too many penal­ties, but other than that, a good team win.”

Af­ter punt­ing on its first three pos­ses­sions and a score­less first quar­ter, Queen Anne’s opened the scor­ing mid­way through the se­cond quar­ter. Hick­man capped a six-play, 76yard scor­ing drive with a 29-yard TD run. Li­ons quar­ter­back Mike D’Angelo con­nected with Jykel Garner for a 25-yard pass play in the mid­dle of the field to put Queen Anne’s at the Bull­dogs’ 30. Af­ter a 1-yard gain by D’Angelo, he faked the ball in­side to Garner and handed off to Hick­man, who found open space off right tackle and bolted into the end zone with 6:11 re­main­ing in the first half. Luke Metrinko’s ex­tra-point split the up­rights.

North Car­o­line an­swered quickly with its only touch­down. On a se­cond-and-14, Bull­dogs quar­ter­back Cody Pep­per found tight end Luke Ruffo open past de­fend­ers in the mid­dle of the field and he broke away for a 64-yard touch­down. Rob­bie Blakely kicked the point-af­ter to make it 7-7 with 4:06 left in the first half.

Both teams punted on their next pos­ses­sion, but Bowen then ac­counted for 75 yards in of­fense start­ing a 25-yard punt re­turn to mid­field. On the next play, he caught a short pass from D’Angelo near the right side­line, avoided a tack­ler, and beat all the other de­fend­ers to the end zone to make it 13-7 at the half.

“Gar­rett’s fan­tas­tic,” Graef said. “He was a kid that played quar­ter­back all through jayvee. He got up with us here on var­sity last year and we re­ally didn’t project him as a quar­ter­back be­cause of his height. Play­ing run­ning back, he’s just fan­tas­tic. He gives you ev­ery­thing he’s got ev­ery sin­gle play and we don’t miss a beat when he’s in there, not at all.”

The Bull­dogs tried to get their grind­ing run­ning game go­ing to open the se­cond half, but a seven-play drive ended with Pep­per be­ing sacked on the Li­ons’ 35.

Trail­ing 19-7, three of the Bull­dogs’ fi­nal four pos­ses­sions ended with in­ter­cep­tions. Tyler Bon­ner, Chris Crow, and Jor­dan Cal­la­han each picked off passes for the Li­ons.

“I thought we played great,” Mon­roe said. “We faced a lot of ad­ver­sity. They came out and they were run­ning right down our throats com­ing out the se­cond half, and for us our de­fense held them and we got some big stops. Of­fen­sive-wise, ev­ery­thing wasn’t there right away, but our line blocked good and our backs ran hard and good things hap­pened.”

Notes: Kent Is­land (9-0) has locked up the top seed, while Queen Anne’ cur­rently sits at se­cond in the Class 2A East Re­gion play­off race, fol­lowed by Elk­ton (8-1) and North Car­o­line. By virtue of MPSSAA points stand­ings, the Li­ons can still tum­ble all the way to fourth place, while the Golden Elks and Bull­dogs can move up with wins in fa­vor­able matchups with win­less North East-Ce­cil and Colonel Richard­son (4-4). Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknauss. email me at ck­nauss@star­dem.com

PHO­TOS BY CHRIS KNAUSS

North Car­o­line’s David Bai­ley is dragged down by a Queen Anne’s de­fender as team­mates pur­sue dur­ing a short gain Fri­day even­ing at Li­ons Sta­dium.

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Queen Anne’s Bran­don Hick­man fin­ishes off a 7-yard touch­down run in the se­cond half Fri­day even­ing against North Car­o­line.

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