Both Gwynn Park coach Danny Hayes and Frederick Douglass coach J.C. Pinkney received telling vibes from their teams before Saturday afternoon's football game.
One good, one bad. And the result, a 39-16 blowout victory for the homestanding Yellow Jackets, followed suit with the coaches' premonitions.
“When we showed up this morning, the energy wasn't there like I expected it to be,” Pinkney said. “I kind of looked it off a little bit and was like, 'OK, maybe the guys will come out and get it.' But we started off slow and it just kind of snowballed.”
Said Hayes, whose team dropped an 8-6 decision to Friendly last week: “We had a pretty tough week of practice. That Friendly game really got us, but I knew what we were capable of.”
Gwynn Park quarterback Jay Adams threw two touchdowns and running back Marc Bronson scored twice as the Yellow Jackets quickly moved on from last weekend's difficult loss to the Patriots on a picturesque afternoon in Brandywine.
“We had to step up and do it, so we did it,” Bronson said. “I felt good. I helped my team wherever they needed me.”
Douglass nearly hit a big gainer on its second play from scrimmage when freshman quarterback Devin Butler found a wide-open Devonte Williams downfield. Williams dropped the pass, however, and the Eagles struggled to establish any sort of offensive attack after that.
Butler completed 14 of 29 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Trailing by 27 points in the third quarter, Douglass was forced to throw nearly every down, but the Eagles' biggest threat, Paul Harris, appeared out of sorts. The University of Tennessee-bound receiver, who missed last week's game against Largo with an ankle injury, finished with 5 catches for 17 yards.
“He didn't come to me with any physical ailments,” Pinkney said. “Clearly it wasn't one of his best performances, but it happens. We've got to give a better effort next time.”
Meanwhile, Gwynn Park took advantage of two turnovers in the first half that resulted from botched handoffs to score the game's first 13 points.
On the strength of Butler's pocket (and frequently out-of-pocket) passing, Douglass trimmed the deficit to 27-16 with 7 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. After forcing a three-and-out, Butler fired incomplete passes on three of four attempts, resulting in a turnover on downs. Gwynn Park's Joe Hayman scored on the next drive and Xaiver Ducksworth returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown on the following play to seal the deal.
Gwynn Park's stout defense allowed 34 yards rushing, forcing Douglass' rookie quarterback to become the playmaker. Adams, a junior, misfired on five of his first six attempts — including throwing three balls out of bounds on go routes — but recovered to finish with 148 passing yards on 17 attempts.
“We knew we needed this game in order to stay in the hunt and get things going,” Hayes said. “Those folks out there that are putting us down, you never put down a Gwynn Park or a Douglass team. It'll come back and haunt you.”
Gwynn Park 39, Frederick Douglass 16
Frederick Douglass (2-1) 0 0 8 8 — 16
Gwynn Park (2-1) 7 6 14 12 — 39
GP — Marcus Porter 1 run (No. 5 kick)
GP — Marc Bronson 3 run (run failed)
GP — Marc Bronson 10 pass from Jay Adams (Jay Adams run)
GP — Omar Branch 18 pass from Jay Adams (kick failed)
FD — Demory Monroe 36 pass from Devin Butler (No. 4 run)
FD — Rodney Boyd 1 pass from Devin Butler (No. 4 run)
GP — Joe Hayman 1 run (kick failed)
GP — Xavier Ducksworth 42 interception return (kick failed)
Frederick Douglass — Kevin Freeman 5-25, Mikale Makle 3-9, Avery Wood 3-7, Kenneth Freeman 4-6, Devin Butler 5-(-12)
Gwynn Park — Joe Hayman 20-81, Marc Bronson 11-45, Jay Adams 5-27, Eddie Gross 7-10, Marcus Porter 2-2
Frederick Douglass — Devin Butler 14-29-147-1
Gwynn Park — Jay Adams 9-17-148-0
Frederick Douglass — Demory Monroe 2-43, Andre Thomas 2-41, Paul Harris 5-17, Kevin Freeman 2-36, Devonte Williams 1-7, Tre' Gibbons Hall 1-2, Rodney Boyd 1-1
Gwynn Park — Kimothy Bynum 2-67, Marc Bronson 5-57, Omar Branch 1-18, Joe Hayman 1-6