After two consecutive fruitless drives that ended with a blocked field goal and an interception, Seneca Valley High School junior running back James Jones-Williams slowly walked to the sideline and screamed to his teammates, “We’ve got to finish. Finish. Finish. Protect the ball. They can’t stop us.”
The No. 6 Screaming Eagles got the message, improving to 4-0 with a commanding 32-6 victory against previously unbeaten and eighth-ranked Winston Churchill Friday at Seneca Valley.
Jones-Williams led the way with 192 rushing yards and the team turned in a stellar defensive performance, including a fumble return for a touchdown by Nicoy Davis.
After Jones-Williams’ impromptu speech, the Screaming Eagles scored on their next three drives and capitalized on the Davis return for a 25-6 halftime lead.
Next week, Seneca Valley (4-0) faces Quince Orchard (4-0) in another battle of top Montgomery County teams.
“From the beginning of summer workouts, at the end of every workout, we had to finish it, and when that comes to mind we have to finish the game,” said Jones-Williams, who missed most of the third quarter after being hit on an attempted reverse. “All day Coach [Fred Kim] kept stressing to us is to finish the game, and that’s what we tried to do. It’s very big, but we’ve got to stay focused because we have a big opponent ahead of us QO.”
On Seneca Valley’s third possession, Jones-Williams got started by catching a short pass from quarterback Tanner Vallely and racing 16 yards for a 6-0 lead with 9 minutes, 43 seconds to play in the second quarter.
He followed with a 50-yard touchdown run on the first play of the Screaming Eagles’ next drive for a 12-0 advantage. Both the extra point and two-point conversion tries, respectively, failed.
“I’ve got to give credit to the offensive line,” Jones-Williams said. “We were having an up-and-down practice, but they really came together today because we knew we had a tough opponent, so we just had to finish and that’s what we did.”
Two plays later, Churchill running back Curtis Kamara fumbled a pitch from quarterback Lansana Keita, and Davis scooped up the loose ball and returned it 60 yards, giving Seneca Valley an 18-0 advantage with 6:18 remaining in the first half.
“I saw an opening and I knew I had to make a play for my team, and that’s exactly what I did,” Davis said. “My first touchdown … it felt very good.”
The Bulldogs (3-1) trimmed their deficit to 18-6 with 2:01 left before halftime on a 17-yard option pitch run by Kamara. But Seneca Valley quickly responded with a three-play, 65-yard play that ended when Valley connected with Kevin Joppy on a well-executed middle screen pass that went 32 yards for a touchdown.
The defenses took over in the second half with neither team able to sustain drives until Seneca Valley broke through with the final touchdown of the game on an 11-yard run by Kellen Staton with 2:23 left in the contest.
Churchill had a chance to score in the third quarter, recovering a fumble deep in Seneca Valley territory, but the Screaming Eagles stopped Keita at the 1-yard line on fourth and goal.
“They were just flying to the football,” Keita said. “Nothing we couldn’t handle. They were just flying to the football. It’s pretty disappointing, but it’s definitely a wake-up call. It shows we’re not undefeatable, and it will definitely get us ready for next weekend for Gaithersburg.”
Seneca Valley 32, Winston Churchill 6
Churchill (3-1) 0 6 0 0 6
Seneca Valley (4-0) 0 25 0 7 32
SV James Jones-Williams 16 pass from Tanner Valley (kick failed)
SV James Jones-Williams 50 run (pass failed)
SV Nicoy Davis 60 fumble return (pass failed)
CH Curtis Kamara 17 run (kick failed)
SV Kevin Joppy 32 pass from Tanner Valley (Junior Arcaro kick)
SV Kellen Staton 11 run (Junior Arcaro kick)
RUSHING: CH Lansana Keita 15-5, Curtis Kamara 8-45, Quan Gill 1-4, Jaylen Rawlings 1-36, Aik Davis 1-1, Jacob Suissa 1-1, Vinny Montgillion 1-7, Behtash Banihashemi 103; SV James Jones-Williams 23-192, Tanner Valley 2-5, Kellen Staton 5-35, Chris Ikossie 2-9
PASSING: CH Lansana Keita 9-18-1 153, Jonathan Lee 1-1-0 6; SV Tanner Valley 6-9-1 94
RECEIVING: CH Aik Davis 1-44, Jaylen Rawlings 1-6, Behtash Banihashemi 1-16, Quan Gill 4-62, Dominique Williams 1-15, Vinny Montgillion 1-6; SV James Jones-Williams 2-21, Kevin Joppy 2-37, Edward Cunningham 1-30, Ramzi Ebcid 1-6.