Before his team's season opener against Sherwood High School on Saturday night, Gaithersburg senior running back Solomon Vault didn't feel right. Queasy and nervous, Vault vomited in the locker room at Richard Montgomery High — playing host to the Trojans while their home field undergoes renovations — and later threw up fluids before joining his team on the sideline.
While most coaches would view their star player expelling his dinner minutes prior to kickoff with a concerned eye, Gaithersburg coach Kreg Kephart was — perhaps — relieved?
“I felt good because I saw him throwing up,” Kephart said. “Usually, when he throws up he has a good game, so I thought to myself, 'It's going to be a good night out there.'”
Kephart's intuition was spot on as Vault rushed for four touchdowns and Gaithersburg dominated Sherwood, 32-7, to earn its first win against the Warriors since 2011 and spoil Chris Grier's coaching debut.
“The pregame jitters kind of got me and I was throwing up a little bit,” Vault said. “But we came out and we handled business, so I'm proud of my guys.”
With his hands still shaking with nerves after the game, Vault said he felt fine after the first few plays. The Northwestern recruit finished with 155 yards rushing on 17 carries with touchdown scampers of 44 and 70 yards serving as the highlights during his standout evening.
Facing a 20-0 deficit in the third quarter following a 10-yard touchdown run by Vault, Sherwood scored its only points on a 33-yard pass from Neven Sussman to Marquese Thomas. Two plays later Vault, who stepped onto the field wearing No. 86 instead of the No. 4 he had been wearing all game because that jersey ripped at the shoulder, fumbled. The Warriors took over at Gaithersburg's 23-yard line with a chance to make it a one-score game.
As well as Vault played in front of a raucous crowd, perhaps the Trojans' defense delivered as impressive a performance, especially after the fumble. After Sussman gained 10 yards on first down, Gaithersburg's defense drove the Warriors back 17 yards in four plays, culminating in a vicious sack of Sussman by senior Evan Barnes.
On Gaithersburg's next play from scrimmage, Vault burst untouched down the left sideline for a 70-yard score.
“It's been a heated rivalry and we were expecting a close game,” said Vault. “The defense stepped up big. Especially when I fumbled, they bailed me out.”
Gaithersburg's defense allowed 195 total yards of offense to the Warriors, who appeared one step behind all evening. Running back Elijah Spottswood rushed for 72 yards, but was largely held in check. In the second half, things got worse for Sherwood in the trenches when monstrous tackle Doudly Aujour left the game with an injury and didn't return.
“I put a challenge out to our defense at the beginning of the game,” Kephart said. “Last year, we gave up over 25 points a game. I told them that if we wanted to do the things we planned on doing this year, we couldn't give up 25 points a game. We've got 18 starters back and that showed out there tonight.”
Gaithersburg 32, Sherwood 7
at Richard Montgomery
Sherwood (0-1) 0 0 7 0 — 7
Gaithersburg (1-0) 0 14 12 6 — 32
G — Solomon Vault 44 run (Joris Bieleu kick failed), 9:05
G — Solomon Vault 4 run (Ariel Martinez pass from Nick DeCarlo), 0:19
G — Solomon Vault 10 run (Nick DeCarlo pass failed), 8:44
S — Marquese Thomas 33 pass from Neven Sussman (95 kick), 5:53
G — Solomon Vault 70 run (Joris Bieleu kick failed), 2:29
G — Xaviyer Mosley run (Nick DeCarlo pass failed), 6:55
Sherwood — Elijah Spottswood 16-72, Neven Sussman 12-21, Travis Levy 5-17, Calvin Bacon 2-7, Myanthony Starnes 2-5
Gaithersburg — Solomon Vault 17-155, Xaviyer Mosley 11-65, Nick DeCarlo 5-32, Mark Spencer 2-6, Quinton Small, 1-0
Sherwood — Neven Sussman 6-15-73-1
Gaithersburg — Nick DeCarlo 4-9-46-0
Sherwood — Marquese Thomas 1-33, Jacob Weiss 2-20, Calvin Bacon 1-9, Tyler Beatty 1-7, Alec Perez 1-4
Gaithersburg — Solomon Vault 2-35, Isaiah Rainey 1-14, Xaviyer Mosley 1-(-3)