Damascus defense shuts down Wootton -- Gazette.Net


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Through three games of the football season, Damascus High School’s defensive unit has been nearly perfect.

After allowing just six points during its first two victories, the Swarmin’ Hornets held Thomas S. Wootton scoreless for three-and-half quarters Friday night. But with 5 minutes, 37 seconds remaining, Damascus surrendered a touchdown and two-point conversion.

It didn’t matter, however, as the visitors cruised to a 37-8 victory in Rockville.

Damascus’ stingy defense was put to the test early. After Wootton (2-1) opened the game with a surprise onside kick, the Hornets (3-0) forced it to punt after three downs.

“We knew they were going start like that because the way they do that burst [kickoff formation],” Damascus coach Eric Wallich said. “The kid made a good kick, but yeah, the defense played outstanding tonight. Wootton didn’t have success with much of anything.”

Added Patriots coach Tyree Spinner: “Damascus is well coached and they have great players. So we wanted to get the momentum, but we didn’t capitalize.

“They are good defensively, but we had some penalties that led to good field position for them. We had opportunities, but too many mental errors kept backing us up.”

Later in the first quarter, Joseph Curry gave Damascus a 3-0 lead with a 23-yard field goal.

On the first play of the second quarter, senior running back Caleb Baisden capped a four play, 49-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.

Baisden crossed the goal line on another 3-yard run on the Hornets’ next possession. Classmate John Hanley then scored with 1:16 remaining in the half on an 8-yard run. Damascus missed the extra point, but led 23-0 at halftime.

Late in the third quarter, sophomore and NCAA Division I recruit Jalen Christian put his team ahead 30-0 with a highlight-reel 61-yard punt return. Christian, who left many of his teammates and coaches in awe on the sideline, eluded several defenders and cut back across the field before cruising into the end zone.

“That was ridiculous,” Baisden said. “Jalen has the potential to be best player ever to come through Damascus. … I can only make moves like him in Madden.”

Added Wallich: “It is just fun to watch him. He can do some special things.”

Damascus triggered a running clock early in the fourth quarter following Basiden’s third touchdown, a 5-yard run.

“Coach always tells us to keep chopping our feet and keep our pad level low,” he said. “It works.”

Wootton’s lone touchdown came on a two-play, 68-yard drive against Damascus’ reserve players. Freshman Trevon Diggs made a 46-yard reception to set up Joe Stapleton’s 22-yard touchdown reception.

“We take pride in our defense and we are going to have to be good to win states,” Baisden said. “[Defensive coordinator Al] Thomas is the best.”

Wallich, agreed,

“Defense is our calling card,” he said. “I think we are pretty good, but we will find out soon for sure when we start playing some real good teams.”

kzakour@gazette.net

Damascus 37, Thomas S. Wootton 8

Damascus 3 20 7 7 — 37

Wootton 0 0 0 8 — 8

D — Joseph Curry 23 FG

D — Caleb Baisden 3 run (Joseph Curry kick)

D — Caleb Baisden 3 run (Joseph Curry kick)

D — John Hanley 8 run (Joseph Curry kick failed)

D — Jalen Christian 61 punt return (Joseph Curry kick)

D — Baisden 5 run (Joseph Curry kick)

W — Joe Stapleton 22 pass from Sam Ellis (Max Coonin run)

RUSHING

Damascus — John Hanley 10-49; Chase Williams 5-7; Caleb Baisden 7-25; Daquan Grimes 2-12; Justin Wilkerson 4-17; Shawn Kelly 1-13; Roman Manzon 1-11; Marquez Swift 1-2; Silvio Aguirre 1-1.

Wootton — Miles Green 8-39; Joe Kelly 1-12; Jibri Woods 10-12; Andrew Parsons 1-2; Sam Ellis 3-(-1); Trevon Diggs 1-(-6).

PASSING

Damascus — Chase Williams 13-23-142-0; Derek Gibson 1-1-8-0.

Wootton — Sam Ellis 16-27-164-1.

RECEIVING

Damascus — Deondre Jolley 2-18; Zach Bradshaw 6-49; Bruno Smith 1-31; Ari Cacopardo 1-11; John Hanley 2-21; George Vinson 1-12; Jacob Goode 1-8.

Wootton — Trevon Diggs 3-70; Joe Stapleton 3-42; Joe Kelly 4-30; Miles Green 2-18; Jibri Woods 2-4.