St. Mary’s Ryken gets de­fen­sive in shutout win

SMR shuts out Dun­bar for third straight win

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

St. Mary’s Ryken’s of­fense has been click­ing just fine lately, but it was the de­fense which took cen­ter stage Fri­day night in a 45-0 dis­man­tling of vis­it­ing Dun­bar of Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

The Knights (3-0 over­all), who won just once last year, have won their first three games of the sea­son un­der first-year head coach Aaron Brady for the first time since 2013, when they fin­ished 8-2.

“It feels great,” said se­nior quar­ter­back Kris­tian Marks of his team’s fast start. “Com­ing off last year’s [strug­gles] to start off this year is phe­nom­e­nal. The guys bought in to the pro­gram and it’s been amaz­ing. [The dif- fer­ence is] lead­er­ship. This year we’ve pulled a lot of lead­ers out. The se­nior lead­er­ship has been amaz­ing.”

“It’s a shock, it is a shock, but it’s our plan to shock ev­ery­body,” said St. Mary’s Ryken ju­nior line­man An­thony Wil­son, who had a fum­ble re­cov­ery in the win. “We have a lot of doubters that don’t be­lieve in us, but we’re out to change that.”

The Knights scored all the of­fense they would need with a 28-point first quar­ter and that was way more than enough for the de­fen­sive unit, which was im­pen­e­tra­ble all night.

“I think our de­fense played re­ally well. They played as­sign­ment foot­ball and did what they were sup­posed to do,” Brady said. “I think the big­gest bonus tonight was our de­fense and our special teams.”

St. Mary’s Ryken’s de­fense held Dun­bar (0-2) to mi­nus-36 yards rush­ing — 10 of 14 rush­ing at­tempts were for zero or neg­a­tive yardage — and 26 yards passing.

“[Dun­bar 6-foot-4 quar­ter­back Jalen Carter] is a good ath­lete, so to con­tain [him] we kept the [de­fen­sive] ends on the out­side and made sure he could only go back in­side to our line­backer coverage,” Knights se­nior line­man Mike McIntosh said. “We had good as­sign­ments, good reads, ev­ery­thing went well. It feels great as

a de­fense to shut them down like that.”

“We shut down the run­ning game right from the start,” Brady said, “which was just read­ing our keys and do­ing our job, and good tack­ling.”

Dun­bar man­aged just just two first downs, both of which came off Knights penal­ties, and crossed mid­field for the first time early in the third quar­ter, and only be­cause the Knights had a pair of 15-yard penal­ties.

Dun­bar’s av­er­age start­ing field po­si­tion was its own 20-yard line while SMR’s was the Crim­son Tide 39.

“We knew they were [vul­ner­a­ble] at cer­tain points of their de­fense, so we wanted to ex­ploit that from the be­gin­ning,” said Marks, who also plays de­fen­sive back. “We had a re­ally good game plan, so we knew if we stuck to that, we could score a lot of points.”

The game was all but over af­ter the first quar­ter as the Knights opened the scor­ing on Calvin Bell’s 39-yard touch­down run to com­plete a 7-play, 77-yard opening drive, which was kept alive when Ernie Sig­mon ran for 22 yards and a first down on a fake punt.

Marks hooked up with Cam­den Boyle on a 15yard strike the fol­low­ing pos­ses­sion, then the Knights took ad­van­tage of turnovers to score three times in 3 min­utes 14 sec­onds.

Will McKay blocked a punt and Wil­son re­cov­ered the ball at the Crim­son Tide 13 to set up Nick Jaf­furs’ 9-yard touch­down catch. Fol­low­ing an­other turnover two plays later, D’An­gelo Tull ran it in from four yards out to make it 28-0. Forty-two sec- onds later, Will John­son scored his first var­sity touch­down on an 8-yard strike.

Marks later tossed a 54-yard scor­ing pass to Jonathan Wynn and Ja­ma­ree Bow­man scored on a 34-yard run.

Se­nior kicker Cam­den Mur­phy con­nected on all seven ex­tra points and hit a school record 47-yard field goal in the third quar­ter to cap an 11-play, 65-yard drive.

“I knew com­ing in here it was going to be a tough out­ing be­cause they’re a big, phys­i­cal team and they have some ath­letes,” said Dun­bar head coach Mau­rice Vaughn, who has just 24 play­ers. “We don’t have any depth at all. We have a large JV and we’ve had to build it up from the ground up. We have to go through the storm un­til we get to where we want to be. I saw more ef­fort to­day and I’m proud of how they played.”

PHOTO BY THERESA JOHN­SON/LE­MON­ADE PUCKER PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

St. Mary’s Ryken fresh­man re­ceiver Will John­son heads to­ward the end zone late in the first quar­ter on his way to an 8-yard score, his first-ever var­sity touch­down. The Knights went on to beat Dun­bar 45-0.

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