Starting with a win
Hurricanes football opens season on top of Panthers
The 2016 season was not an easy one for the Huntingtown Hurricanes football team, as the rebuilding program endured a season that featured just one win on the field.
Coming out of that, though, the players committed themselves throughout the offseason to working towards a better 2017. It paid off on Friday night, as the Hurricanes opened the season by upending the visiting Patuxent Panthers 2414 in a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference nondivision contest.
“We had a great turnout of kids showing up in the offseason. I heard one kid yelling, when he was running over to [celebrate a touchdown] in the end zone, ‘That’s why we work so hard in the offseason,’” Huntingtown head coach Paul Friel said. “It’s kind of a culmination of all the hard work. It does pay off when you do the right things. It was an emotional roller coaster, but they were very, very happy and for good reason. Patuxent’s a great program and they have great coaches. That’s big for us.”
Huntingtown (1-0 overall), which never trailed in the game, led 10-7 at the half. Patuxent (0-1) received the second-half kickoff, but Caleb Karbowsky took an interception back for a touchdown to strengthen the Hurricanes’ advantage. The Panthers pulled back to within 1714 after Matthew Branson’s rushing touchdown, but were unable to score again while the hosts tacked on another touchdown to effectively put the game out of reach.
“We’re a young team, and a young team can’t afford to make that many mistakes against a wellcoached team like Huntingtown,” said first-year Patuxent frontman Nick Allen, citing his team’s struggles with penalties and turnovers in its opener. “Friel does a great job over there, and his kids came ready to play. They took advantage of all the opportunities and our kids did not.
“I don’t think it was from a lack of effort on our kids’ part. They played hard. Just too many mistakes across the board to win the football game.”
The Panthers, who also received a touchdown from Tazman Davis in the first half, are scheduled to host Northern at 7 p.m. Friday versus their former coach Steve Crounse and quarterback Reese Crounse. The Patriots defeated Calvert in Week 1, 49-7.
Huntingtown, which had touchdowns scored by Dakota Cram and Jalen Jones in addition to
Karbowsky’s pick-six and a Thomas Weiskircher field goal, will look to carry its Week 1 momentum over to its scheduled contest at Lackey at 7 p.m. Friday. The Chargers shut out Leonardtown in Week 1, 35-0.
The Hurricanes had delivered a pair of relatively uneven performances in the preseason, with a largely successful scrimmage against Broadneck followed by a disappointing effort versus McDonough. But under the lights in a game that counted, the team was able to snag a win. Last year’s team wasn’t able to enjoy a victory until Week 7.
“It was great. The kids earned it,” Friel said. “That first scrimmage they played to their potential at the time. We were still rough around the edges. Second scrimmage we didn’t play to our potential. We fundamentally got better but just didn’t play at a level we needed to focus-wise. ... We still have a lot of fundamental stuff to do, but the focus was there, the competitive edge was there. They definitely enjoyed the ride and it was a great feeling.”