Down by two touchdowns early in the second quarter, the Poolesville High School football team rode a solid running game and made a last-second goal-line stand to edge visiting Richard Montgomery, 20-14, in Friday's non-divisional homecoming game.
The host Falcons found themselves behind 14-0 after the Rockets' junior quarterback Renzo Farfan scored on a 1-yard sneak. The next series, Poolesville's junior running back Brandon Barnes caught a 2-yard toss from classmate Steven Morningstar to cut a 14-6 lead at the half.
The hosts then chopped further into the lead during their first possession of the third quarter on a 14-yard catch from senior tight end Cody Zinsser. Following Zinsser's grab, the Falcons found themselves in the red zone on two separate drives in the fourth quarter, and came away without a score — missing a 24-yard field goal and tossing an interception to Elvis Amardi. Poolesville (4-2) was able to keep plugging away until Morningstar sprinted away from the RM defensive line and sprinted around the right corner for a 13-yard score. He then tossed a two-point conversion to force the Rockets to have to score a touchdown and a conversion to win.
In both of Poolesville's final two touchdowns running back Charles Lyles broke several sizeable runs. For the contest, the 5-foot-8, 190-pound senior totaled his exact per game totals on the ground with 154 yards on 22 carries. He now has more than 900 yards on the season.
“Our line is solid, big John [Bateky] Sweekar [Shrestha], [Jackson] Purdy and those guys are a solid group, Lyles said. “When they are on their A game, I am on my A game. Without them, I would not be going very far. Plus with our receivers blocking down field, it makes running very easy.”
Poolesville coach Will Gant was once again pleased with his running back's performance.
“We know that if we keep giving him the ball, he's going to make some plays for us.” Gant said.
The Rockets gave the Falcons one last scare on the game's final drive. Farfan drove his team in just over five minutes and 12 plays to the Poolesville 1. On the 13th play, running back Osebo Akhigbe was stopped by the Falcon defense as the final seconds ticked off of the clock.
“Our team is very resilient, we bend but we don't break,” Lyles said. “Our defense is just a solid group, they were able to keep it together for the entire game.”
“Our hearts were racing, Lyles said. “It was tough, but I trusted our defense I knew they were going to pull it together.”
The Falcons indeed pulled it together, much to the chagrin of RM coach Josh Klotz, who lauded his team despite the gut-wrenching loss that dropped its overall record to 1-5.
“I think when you look at the game, to be at the 1-yard line with the great opportunity to score and tie and maybe take the lead with the extra point, its all about the first half, not finishing drives in the first half and the mistakes we made then.
“As a team, I give our guys credit that day in and day out at practice, even though we've had a bunch of tough, heart breaking losses, that they come out each Monday ready to get themselves better. We feel like we have been in every game, we just have to figure out how to finish. But I have no doubt that they'll be back Monday working to make themselves better. The thing is, we can't wait until we are down 20-14 with the game on the line to drive 78 yards in 5 minutes when we had been running those same plays all game.”
Farfan finished the evening with 166 yards passing, completing 19 out of 29 attempts with a 3-yard touchdown pass to senior Phil Osborn (8 catches, 55 yards) to give his team a 7-0 lead a little over 5 minutes into the first quarter. Osborn also turned a short pass into a 53-yard touchdown that was called back by a penalty late in the second half.
Notes: Richard Montgomery sophomore offensive lineman Judah Canizares was carried off in an ambulance with 7:10 left to go in the contest. Klotz said it was a precautionary measure, as Canizares suffered a head injury and may be suffering from concussion-type symptoms.
Richard Montgomery 7-7-0-0
RM—Phil Osborn 3 pass from Renzo Farfan (Farfan pass to Marcus Foster)
RM—Renzo Farfan 1 run (pass failed)
PV— Brandon Barnes 2 pass from Steven Morningstar (kick blocked) PV— Cody Zinsser 14 pass from Steven Morningstar (run failed)
PV— Steven Morningstar 13 run (Morningstar pass to N/A)
Richard Montgomery — Alex Fehlinger 13-29
Poolesville — Charles Lyles 22-154, Trey Willis 7-23, Steven Morningstar 5-28.
Richard Montgomery — Renzo Farfan 19-29, 166-1.
Poolesville — Steven Morningstar 5-11, 38-1.
Richard Montgomery — Phil Osborn 8-55, Kevin Velasquez 4-33, Marcus Foster 4-28, Sebastien Vainqueur 3-50.
Poolesville — Joel Hessels 2-18, Brandon Barnes 2-6, Cody Zinsser 1-14.