Queen Anne’s dominates all facets during blowout over the Indians to keep playoff hopes alive
The Queen Anne’s County High School 2018 Homecoming King Troy Ernest and Homecoming Queen Rachel Lee ride in the back of a convertible along the parade route Friday evening, Oct. 19, before the football game. Queen Anne’s beat Wicomico, 35-15. Parade photos on pages 18 and 19.
Queen Anne’s 35 Wicomico 15
CENTREVILLE — A playoff spot is still a mostly remote possibility, but Hassan Biggus, Noah Evans and the rest of the Queen Anne’s County High football team are doing everything possible to finish the season on a high note.
The Lions blew open a
7-7 halftime tie last Friday evening against visiting Wicomico during a strong second half, remaining on the periphery of the Class
2A East Region postseason picture with a dominant, 3515, victory.
Queen Anne’s is now 4-4, in a battle in the final weeks with Wicomico, Kent Island, Easton, North East (Cecil) — all also 4-4 — to potentially squeeze through the door and into the playoffs.
North Caroline (8-0), Harford Tech (8-0), Elkton (6-2) and Parkside (6-2) currently sit in the four playoff positions. Rising Sun is 5-3, followed by the quintet of 4-4 programs.
Reality, however, has appeared to set in on the Lions’ longtime head coach.
“We figured it out the other day, it’s been 17 years where we’ve been in this part of the season where we weren’t worried who else is winning, and hope this team loses, but I think it’s good,” Queen Anne’s head Donny Graef said. “It’s a little bit more of a comfort level for these kids now, because they’re not worrying about the playoffs, they’re just playing football.
“We’re playing for pride, and we were going to come out and play football on this Friday night and let the chips fall where they may,” Graef added.
Biggus led all rushers with 75 yards on only nine touches, adding a key, thirddown reception for 24 yards late in the third quarter that eventually led to a 5-yard Biggus touchdown run. He also scored on a 16-yard carry to open the game, but the Lions’ offense did not get into the end zone again until the third.
Queen Anne’s did, however, eat up plenty of ground throughout, to the tune of over 5 yards per carry, finishing with 179 yards rushing on 35 attempts. Sophomore quarterback Syrus Mcgowan also threw for 81 yards.
“It’s been a tough year,” Biggus said. “But we just got to finish the season strong, and hope that somebody loses, hopefully we can squeeze in, because we came together as a team tonight, and I
feel like we can make some noise in the playoffs, if we get there. We can only hope.”
Added Graef: “We’re trying to tell the kids, four yards, five yards, we live with that, and that’s a good play for us. It’s been tough getting that mentality across, because we’re so used to getting big plays. Tonight, there were some plays where we kept the chains moving, made some great blocks.”
The Indians set up good field position following Biggus’ gameopening TD, senior Ronnie Satchell Jr. returning the ensuing kickoff
34 yards to Wicomico’s 49. The Indians capped the drive — which included a fourth-down conversion and a 23-yard rumble by junior Cameron Kodua — with a 3-yard quarterback keeper, senior Khalil Evans following the line to paydirt.
Wi-hi did not score again until the Lions emptied the bench during the second-half rout. During that stretch, Queen Anne’s defense stopped 10 plays at or behind the line of scrimmage, intercepted Khalil Evans three times — including a 20-yard pick-six from senior Ryan Muller — and took advantage of a penalty-prone, Wicomico blocking game.
A goal-line stand at the end of the first half permanently handed momentum to the Lions, Queen Anne’s junior Gavin Jens sacking Khalil Evans on a fourth-and-goal on the 4 for a 13-yard loss.
The Indians finished with only 188 yards on 50 plays from scrimmage,
36 of them coming on a droughtbreaking, TD run by junior Eddie Hayward inside the final minute.
“They have a lot better athletes than they have had in the past,” Noah Evans said of Wi-hi. “We had a rough start in the first quarter, they scored that one touchdown, but after that we got ourselves together, came together as a team and stopped them, made some great plays. Our defensive line did a great job, getting the linebackers into the zone.”
Added Graef: “They are a scary team, because they have kids that can take it to the house. John Wooters, he is doing the defense now, he has done really well with it. John has been putting the time in, and he’s getting the work done.”
A sizable homecoming crowd urged the Lions on at the every turn, ultimately unnerving the Indians in the process. A series of chippy play in the second half led to the ejection of Wi-hi junior Stephaun Harris, when he appeared to throw a punch at the conclusion of a play that ended on the Queen Anne’s sideline.
“We do have good kids when it comes to that,” Graef said of his team keeping its composure. “There might be some verbal stuff during the game, but usually they’re not so hot-headed.
“We’re trying to press upon them that it hurts you, obviously, but it also hurts the team,” Graef added. “Don’t be that guy ... and put the whole team in a bind. They kept their heads, played hard, that’s all we can ask.”
Muller (68 yards rushing) ended the 7-7 deadlock since the first quarter with a 35-yard touchdown run in the third, the third-and-2 scamper finishing untouched when he turned on the jets past Satchell Jr. and junior Joshua Shockley.
Queen Anne’s made it 21-7 only 25 seconds later, Muller intercepting Evans after Lions junior Xavier Jones tipped the first-down pass into the air and up for grabs. Biggus’ 5-yard score arrived early in the fourth, and Donovan Cruz capped the scoring for the hosts with a 1-yard plunge.
“Second half, everybody just turned up,” Biggus said. “The offense came back, Ryan Muller catching the two picks, he did amazing tonight. We just all came together.”
Sophomore kicker Garrhett Richardson converted all five point-after touchdowns, though he did leave a 32-yard field goal well short in the second quarter.
“I think being 4-4 as we are right now, we had a rough start to the season, but I think tonight was a great win, a great team effort,” Noah Evans said. “Hopefully we can keep working hard, and if something crazy happens, coaches have been talking about, we might actually make the playoffs.”
The Lions host Parkside this Friday before the annual Week 10 battle for the Chesapeake Cup with Kent Island on Nov. 2, and Queen Anne’s will have to win out and receive plenty of help to return to the playoffs. Graef also has the task of keeping his players focused on the Rams, rather than turn their collective eyes to the county rival Buccaneers, but he said that is a non-issue.
There has been much hoopla in the past decade any time Queen Anne’s County and Kent Island square off. Some of the luster has worn off this season as the two programs undergo roster turnovers, and finishing with back-to-back wins and a 6-4 mark might be the best the Lions can expect in 2018.
“It’s different one of us is 8-1 and the other one is 9-0,” Graef said of the rivalry with the Buccaneers. “But right now, we’re just trying to play one week at a time, and play the best football we can, because we’ve been so up-and-down this year. Hopefully we can build on this and have a better showing next week.” Follow on Twitter @Ayman_stardem. Email at email@example.com
Queen Anne’s County’s Hassan Biggus seeks an opening during last Friday’s 35-15 win over Wicomico. Biggus, a senior, rushed for 75 yards, caught a 24-yard pass and scored on touchdown runs of 16 and 5 yards.
Queen Anne’s County’s Charle Kay is stopped a yard short of a touchdown during last Friday’s 35-15 win over Wicomico.