Eagles Dehorn the Rams

“They’re too fast.” “They have athletes.” “They won states last year.” All week, the North Point Football team heard statements like these from naysayers and doubters about McDonough High School. Half of the Maryland Independent sports panel picked the Rams to beat the Eagles in Friday night’s contest. Statistically, though, North Point was the better team. The Eagles were averaging nearly 20 points per game while allowing a little under eight points per game. On the other hand, the Rams hadn’t won a game by more than two points since Week Two, and have failed to reach at least 20 points in a game since Week One. As county rivals, however, numbers were thrown out the window as the two played a physical, may-the-better-team-win game.

North Point proved to be the better team.

The game began with North Point receiving possession. Their first play was a big run by halfback D.J. Briscoe (’12), but the drive ended in a turnover on downs. Neither team was able move the ball much, and the first quarter ended in a deadlock at 0-0.

What happened in the beginning of the second quarter could best be described as a game of hot potato. North Point, with possession, was hoping to get a good drive going until quarterback Connor Young (’12) threw an interception. Just as McDonough was planning to drive downfield, though, Marcus Rainey (’12) took the ball back in an interception of his own. The Eagles then proceeded to score their first points of the game with a two yard run by Briscoe. After a strong defensive effort for the rest of the quarter, North Point went into halftime up 7-0.

As the second half went underway, McDonough seemed to gain some momentum as they returned the first kick-off of the half for a 98 yard touchdown; much to their dismay, the score was called back due to two blocks in the back penalties on the return.

After another turnover on downs by the Rams, the Eagles got the ball back and went right down to business. For the whole drive, North Point ran the ball, using the same formation and relying heavily on fullback Franklin Marshall (’12) and the offensive line to move the chains. “I knew the o-line had to do well for the team to win,” stated left tackle Blair Dowdell (’12). “Especially in a high intensity game like McDonough, we made sure we did our job so the skill players would have a big night,” he said. The offensive line finished the job for North Point, as Young was able to find the right hole and sneak in for the touchdown. It didn’t take long for the Eagles to score again, as Marshall took a handoff 80 yards to the end zone after North Point forced McDonough to punt again.

Going into the fourth quarter, the Eagles looked well on their way to a shutout. However, a bad snap on a punt gave McDonough the ball on the Eagles one yard line, and they proceeded to score one play later. They failed to convert the PAT, though, and had to settle for six points. Later in the fourth, McDonough stalled a North Point offensive possession and was threatening to score again. Linebacker Curtis Gibson (’12) had other plans, stripping the ball out of the hands of the Rams quarterback in Eagles territory. “I knew we were down, and I knew that they had an opportunity to score, so I just made something happen,” stated Gibson. With that turnover, the Eagles were able to coast to a victory, winning the game 21-6 in a great defensive effort. “Their offense is pretty good, but we executed well and the kids played a great game,” explained Defensive Coordinator Ryan Gick. “We had a great  for them [McDonough], got to their quarterback, and shut down their running back. We played a very good game.”

North Point’s win put them at 6-1 on the season, and tied with Patuxent and Huntingtown for second in the SMAC, behind county rival Westlake High School. The Eagles next game will be against Friendship Collegiate of Washington, D.C., the school widely known for their top-ranked defensive tackle Eddie Goldman.  However, North Point will also have to prepare for the Knights potent offense. “We’re gonna go in and just play football. Defensively, I think we can hang with them if we just make some plays,” said Gick.