Another blanking for the Hurricanes
Hurricanes beat Patriots for third straight shutout, sixth of season
On a night when scoring chances would be few and far between courtesy of a pair of stingy defenses and the pending arrival of cold rains that prompted an early start to the contest, Huntingtown High School junior Clay Wargo played a key role in both scores as the Hurricanes upended host Northern, 14-0, on Friday night in a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Potomac Division contest.
Huntingtown (8-1, 4-1 SMAC Potomac) has ridden its stingy defense to a spot in the upcoming Class 3A South Region playoffs and the Hurricanes collected their third straight shutout and sixth overall this season. Wargo, who plays dual roles as running back and linebacker for the Hurricanes, scored the game’s first touchdown and then promptly set up the other three minutes later.
Huntingtown spent much of the first half in Northern territory, running only three plays on its side of midfield. The combination of the field position and the Hurricanes’
stingy defense enabled the visitors to score the only two touchdowns on the night in the second quarter and the Patriots were unable to overcome the deficit.
“Our defense is just amazing,” Wargo said. “I love playing with these guys. I’m just looking forward to playing at least two more games with them this year. We’re really like a group of brothers.”
Following a scoreless first quarter, Wargo got Huntingtown on the board on the fifth play of the second. Facing fourth down and inches at the Northern 7-yard line, Wargo found a seam left of center and plowed through the Patriots defense and into the end zone. Quarterback/kicker Hunter Bray added the extra point and the Hurricanes owned a 7-0 lead with 9 minutes 15 seconds left before halftime.
“I was just looking to get the first down,” Wargo said. “Then when I got past the line
of scrimmage, I saw the next defender was a lot smaller than me, so I just ran him over. But our line did a great job on that play. They opened a hole and I was able to get through.”
Wargo made his next big play on Northern’s ensuing possession. With the Patriots approaching midfield, quarterback Zach Crounse watched a shotgun snap sail over his head and Wargo beat him and several Northern offensive linemen to the loose ball and recovered at the Patriots’ 20.
“When I saw the ball get past the quarterback, I knew I could beat their offensive linemen to the ball,” Wargo said. “I just saw it bouncing and I was determined to get it.”
Three plays later, Bray rolled out to his left and connected with wide receiver Eval Lively in the left front corner of the end zone for a touchdown and then Bray again added the extra point to lift the Hurricanes to a 14-0 lead with 6:04 remaining in the half. Huntingtown’s second touchdown had come courtesy of Wargo’s defensive prowess and the Patriots never really recovered.
“That whole first half was all about field position and their defense,” Northern head coach Steve Crounse said. “When they got that second touchdown, that was a big momentum shift. We were finally starting to put a drive together when we turned it over. But I’m proud of our guys. They never quit. We had some good drives in the second half, but their defense kept us out of the end zone.”
Over the last 30 minutes of playing time and perhaps the last hour of real time, cold rains that arrived at halftime gradually intensified and made playing conditions less than ideal.
Northern (6-3, 2-3) did put together several good drives in the second half, but its only foray into the Huntingtown red zone ended without points and the Hurricanes were able to control the clock with short, punishing runs from Bray and Wargo.
“Our running game was definitely inconsistent,” Huntingtown head coach Paul Friel said. “We had some good runs in the first half, but then Northern made some defensive ad-
justments. We did a good job defensively stopping their runs and limiting their big plays. Our defense has been the staple of our team all season.”
Huntingtown wraps up the regular season at home versus St. Charles at 7 p.m. Friday, while Northern will be at Chopticon at 6 p.m. Friday. The Spartans (7-2, 3-2) came from behind to defeat the Braves (27, 1-4) in Week 9, 20-8. Lackey edges Patuxent The Chargers continued their quest for a higher seed in the upcoming Class 1A South Region playoffs by edging the Panthers in a SMAC Chesapeake Division contest on Friday night.
Lackey (6-3, 3-2 SMAC Chesapeake) led 12-0 at the end of the first quarter and 20-14 at halftime as Robert Middleton completed one pass for 55 yards and a touchdown and he also rushed for two more scores.
Middleton only completed one pass, a 55-yard scoring strike to D’Anthony Washington, and he led the Chargers’ ground attack with 112 yards and two rushing touchdowns on just 12 attempts. Washing-
ton also carried eight times for 49 yards and Jayson Wilmer ran 14 times for 32 yards.
Lackey, along with Fairmont Heights and Douglass of Prince George’s County, have already clinched spots in the postseason. The Chargers will host McDonough at 7 p.m. Friday. The Rams (2-7, 1-4) defeated La Plata in Week 9, 22-6.
Patuxent (2-7, 2-3) wrap up its season at Thomas Stone at 7 p.m. Friday. The Cougars (45, 2-3) were edged in the final minutes by Westlake in Week 9, 21-19.
“We started out really well, then the weather in the second half was the most bizarre that I have ever seen,” Lackey head coach John Lusb said. “Neither team could do anything with the winds and the sideways rains that were coming in. Running any play was a disaster waiting to happen. That was the type of game we would have lost earlier in the season. It seems like that loss to Westlake was a wake-up call for us. We’ve been playing well since then and we needed to finish up strong this weekend.”
Huntingtown quarterback Hunter Bray awaits the shotgun snap midway through the first quarter as the Hurricanes approached the Northern red zone. Huntingtown failed to score on this possession but it scored on two straight drives in the second quarter en route to a 14-0 victory over the host Patriots in their SMAC clash.