Our Lady of Good Counsel High School senior Kendall Fuller lagged behind his teammates after the game, his dazzling 75-yard punt return hours earlier a distant memory.
“Captains up front,” someone called, arranging for a photo with Good Counsel football coach Bob Milloy, the team’s leaders and the Great American Rivalry Series trophy. Just walking those last 15 yards was a challenge for the Fuller, who was bothered by leg cramps, shoulder soreness and a late-game hit to the head.
The picture might have been taken without the slow-moving Fuller — if not for everyone having to wait for him to arrive for his solo photo with the game MVP trophy first.
Fuller, who’s committed to Virginia Tech, returned a punt for a touchdown in the first quarter and broke up the potentially game-winning pass during the final defensive stand to lead Good Counsel to a 13-10 victory against DeMatha Catholic on Friday in Olney. On a night most of the 107 offensive plays went for one yard or fewer, Fuller’s playmaking ability proved the difference.
“It’s huge,” Milloy said. “He’s our guy. I told them before the game, I said, ‘In these kind of games, the special teams usually has something to do with the outcome.’ And there it was.”
Fuller was one of several Good Counsel players to suffer injuries during the game, including top running back and linebacker Dorian O’Daniel. O’Daniel, who’s committed to Clemson, left the game late in the first half with a shoulder injury.
Jones 2.0: The name and the game are a little different but a Bullis School football player named Jones came up big again Friday night, leading the Bulldogs to a commanding 26-3 victory against visiting Bishop McNamara.
A year ago, Kevin Jones was lighting up the scoreboard while racing his way to more than 2,000 yards for the season to lead the Bulldogs to a 9-1 record and the team's first Interstate Athletic Conference title since 1979.
Fast forward to Friday and it was Kyven Jones making many of the top plays — two touchdown receptions, nine tackles and an interception — to help Bullis improve to 5-0 on the season with IAC play set to begin Saturday against St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.).
“I'm just doing my job and doing what the coaches say,” Jones said. “If it means tackling somebody, catching a ball or making an interception, I do what I can do.”
Defensive study pays off: The defense came ready to play for the James H. Blake High School football team on Friday. The Bengals forced five turnovers and recorded a safety during a 22-14 victory against host Thomas S. Wootton.
“I think we came out, from a defensive standpoint, and physically dominated the game,” Blake coach Tony Nazzaro said. “We have some hard hitters on our team. We do it between the whistles and fair-and-square, but we have some headhunters out there. I was really proud of the defensive effort.”
Defensive back Marquis Robinson had a pair of interceptions for the Bengals (4-2). The junior also scored on a 12-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter.
“We watched a lot of film this week, and we noticed that they run a lot of comeback routes,” Robinson said. “That’s what we were looking for. They try to fake you deep, and then keep coming with the comeback routes to the outside. I missed the first few, but then they kept doing it so I started to sit on it, and that’s how I got the picks.”
Too many weapons: In an offensive showdown, the Watkins Mill High School football team had more weapons in its 48-22 rout over host Albert Einstein.
The Wolverines played the role of rude guests for the Titans' homecoming festivities, jumping out to a 21-7 first quarter advantage and keeping the pressure on for the rest of Friday's Montgomery 3A Division showdown.
The statistics on both squads were impressive — Watkins Mill senior quarterback Patrick Schlosser completed 10 of 16 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed 15 times for 146 yards and two scores as well.
Wolverines' senior wide receiver Malik Brooks hauled in four passes for 53 yards and the game's first score, while junior running back Quentin Schaired — all 5-feet-10 and 160 pounds of him — ran like a battering ram, offsetting Schlosser's, multi-faceted game with 12 carries for 85 yards and a 27-yard first quarter touchdown.
“Basically, we were looking for the running game, and we had to figure out how to do it, and now, Quentin has stepped up during the last couple of week,” said Watkins Mill coach Kevin Watson, whose team improved to 4-2 overall, and 2-1 in division play. “We're letting him go. Now, it's his time. He runs hard. We lost all of our running backs [last season], so we are waiting for that guy; we're saying 'who is it?' And I think he [Schaired] wants to be that guy.”
John Harris III, Kyle Russell and James Peters contributed.
Top 10 poll
(Team, record, points in poll voted on by The Gazette's seven sports staffers)
1. Good Counsel Falcons, 5-1, 70
Last: def. DeMatha, 13-10; Next: vs. Bishop McNamara
2. Seneca Valley Screaming Eagles, 6-0, 60
Last: def. Rockville, 40-21; Next: at Blake
3. Damascus Swarmin' Hornets, 6-0, 56
Last: def. Walter Johnson, 56-27; Next: vs. Rockville
4. Quince Orchard Cougars, 5-1, 52
Last: def. Whitman, 46-3; Next: at Richard Montgomery
5. Bullis Bulldogs, 5-0, 42
Last: def. McNamara, 26-3; Next: at St. Stephen's and St. Agnes
6. Sherwood Warriors, 4-2, 33
Last: def. Magruder, 41-0; Next: at Springbrook
7. Northwest Jaguars, 4-2, 29
Last: def. Churchill, 27-24; Next: at Gaithersburg
8. Churchill Bulldogs, 4-2, 21
Last: lost to Northwest, 27-24; Next: at Walter Johnson
9. Landon Bears, 4-1, 15
Last: def. Episcopal, 42-14; Next: vs. Woodberry Forest
10. Blake Bengals, 4-2, 3
Last: def. Wootton, 22-14; Next: vs. Seneca Valley
Also receiving votes: Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons 2; Poolesville Falcons 1; Watkins Mill Wolverines 1.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase at Wootton
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
What to know: Last year B-CC (4-2) got hot at the end of the regular season to make a run that led to a berth in the 4A West Region playoffs. They have the same schedule this year, and this is probably the most difficult test on it, meaning 8-2 is possible. Wootton (3-3) is tied with Churchill at the top of the 4A South Division race, but still must play the Bulldogs on Oct. 26.
Seneca Valley at James H. Blake
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
What to know: After opening with losses to Northwest and Sherwood by a combined 67-7 score, Blake has won four straight, including beating Watkins Mill and Paint Branch. This week fans find out if the Bengals have truly turned around their season when the undefeated and third-ranked Screaming Eagles visit. Seneca defeated the Benals 38-0 last year.