Damascus High School senior Zach Bradshaw stood in his shoulder pads with his arms exposed to the chilling winds and shivering on the field at the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex after Friday's Army National Guard Crab Bowl, a senior all-star football game.
It was the final game of his high school tenure and he wore an unfamiliar black jersey as a member of the Washington team, but a familiar Damascus helmet, which also had Sherwood and Quince Orchard stickers on it.
Despite the final score — Washington lost 28-7 to Baltimore — Bradshaw said it wasn't about winning or losing this game, a sentiment many, if not all, of the players shared.
“I wanted to win, but this one doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things,” said Bradshaw, a University of Virginia recruit, who added that this was the coldest game he's ever played in. “We were just out here having fun. Even though we lost, I still enjoyed it.”
With winds blowing hard enough to take out a kicking net during the National Anthem and temperatures in the high 30s, Baltimore used its massive offensive line to open large running holes while running up the score.
Baltimore finished with a combined 177 rushing yards, predominantly running out of the shotgun formation, while scoring a touchdown in each quarter.
Baltimore now trails Washington 3-2 in the series.
Baltimore and Gov. Thomas Johnson quarterback Heath Dahlgren had the biggest play of the day, throwing into the wind for a 71-yard touchdown to Isaiah Gills, who ran a streak down the right sideline.
“Throwing with the wind was really easy, but throwing against it was kind of hard,” Dahlgren said. “The play kind of broke down, I rolled out of the pocket and I saw a guy wide open so I threw it down there. Somehow it got through the wind and made it down there. But he made a great catch and a great run after the play.”
Washington and Seneca Valley running back James Jones-Williams led all rushers with 80 yards. Washington moved the ball effectively at times, but three drives were cut short due to turnovers — one lost fumble and two interceptions.
Comprised of players from high schools throughout the state, the teams started practices on Monday, using simplified playbooks to get everyone on track quickly.
After breaking the ice on Monday, the players bonded quickly.
“This is a great squad to be a part of,” said Frederick Douglass senior lineman D'Sean Cummings, who is verbally committed to play at Towson. “I love these guys. We've only been together for a week, but it feels like I've known these guys forever.”
With college next, Bradshaw said this was a good way to get ready for what to expect next season.
“I think it's going to be good to prepare us for the next level,” he said. “The speed was a little bit quicker than in high school and the competition was better too.”
Baltimore 28, Washington 7
Baltimore 7 7 7 7 — 28
Washington 0 0 0 7 — 7
Bal — Stephen Scott 1 run (Jay Patti kick)
Bal — Isaiah Gills 71 pass from Heath Dahlgren (Brady Policelli kick)
Bal — Garrett Bean 38 run (Jay Patti kick)
Bal — Michael Anderson 2 run (Jay Patti kick)
Wash — Tyler Ambush 29 pass from Jack Gordon (Ben Priddy kick)
Baltimore — Stephen Scott 10-70, Derrick Kittrell 9-54, Joe Peaker 3-18, Deryk Kern 4-15, Tim Anderson 3-9, Michael Anderson 3-9, Reggie Ellis 2-5, DeAndre Lane 1-(-1), Heath Dahlgren 3 (-2).
Washington — James Jones-Williams 11-80, Jack Gordon 7-59, Rachid Ibrahim 3-18, Lavon Chaney 5-12, Tyler Ambush 1-4, Connor Cox 5-(-2), Devone Bonne 1-(-8), Zach Bradshaw 2-(-11)
Baltimore — Heath Dahlgren 3-6-0-105, Deryk Kern 3-4-0-42, Tim Anderson 0-1-0-0
Washington — Jack Gordon 5-8-1-104, Connor Cox 4-10-1-39
Baltimore — Isaiah Gills 1-71, Stephen Scott 2-30, DeAndre Lane 1-12, Marquis Ellis 1-9, Michael Anderson 1-7,
Washington — Zach Bradshaw 1-57, Tyler Ambush 2-44, Lavon Chaney 3-27, Ryan Simms 1-32, Malaki Roy 2-24, Christopher Thomas 1-3,