Watkins Mill had a season-defining upset in mind when Damascus headed into Wolverine Stadium on Friday for a battle between 3A West division foes that had rolled to big wins in Week 1.
And for the better part of three quarters, a win didn't seem beyond the Wolverines' reach.
But behind Damascus's bruising run game—and a pair of Zach Bradshaw highlights—the Swarmin’ Hornets' turned the hard-fought first half into a fourth-quarter blowout, handing the Wolverines a 35-0 defeat in their 2012 home opener.
Watkins Mill (1-1) had its chances early on, as Damascus was slow get in gear. Four times in the first half, the Swarmin’ Hornets crossed into Watkins Mill territory. Two of those drives faltered on 4th down, and one turned Watkins Mill’s way when RB Trevor Patton coughed up the ball as he was chased down at the end of a 50-yard run.
And on a half-dozen plays in their tepid first half, Damascus tried to find their superstar wide-out Zach Bradshaw, a University of Virginia recruit. But some tight Watkins Mill coverage and a few Damascus misfires (a would-be Bradshaw touchdown late in the 2nd quarter was waved off when his feet came down inches beyond the back of the end zone) kept the explosive senior in check.
Instead it was running backs Caleb Baisden and John Hanley, behind a stout Damascus line, who eventually wore the Wolverines down.
Baisden supplied the game's only score of the first half when he rumbled into the end zone from 5 yards out with 3:46 left in the 1st quarter. Then, more than a quarter later, he muscled back-to-back carries that gave Damascus the momentum for good.
Trailing only 7-0 at halftime, Watkins Mill came out of the locker room with a drive that moved toward midfield. QB Patrick Schlosser hit WR Malik Brooks on a quick slant that was headed for another Wolverine first down, but the ball came loose as Brooks fought for extra yards, and Damascus recovered on the Wolverines’ side of midfield.
The Hornets’ ensuing play sent Baisden up the gut of Watkins Mill’s defense, where the 185-pound senior broke through a slew of tired arm-tackles before being dragged down at the 1-yard line. Damascus hurried to the line, and Baisden punched in it on the next play.
Bradshaw finally made his presence felt with less than 4:00 left in the 3rd quarter. One play after a Jalen Christian 52-yard punt return put Damascus at Watkins Mill’s 28, Bradshaw slipped behind the secondary for a post-route touchdown that swelled the Hornets’ lead to 20-0.
And unlike their lackluster first half, Damascus proceeded to pounce on the suddenly reeling ‘Rines.
A botched kick-off return put Watkins Mill at their 2-yard line to start their ensuing drive. The Damascus defensive line stuffed the Wolverines’ first two runs. On 3rd down, Rashard Budd—who transferred from Watkins Mill after his sophomore year—smothered freshman RB Jarod Woodyard in the end zone, putting Damascus up 22-0.
Damascus sealed the deal on the ensuing possession. As time wound down in the 3rd quarter, runs by Baisden and Hanley took Damascus to Watkins Mill’s 36-yard line.
Bradshaw followed up with the game’s most spectacular play. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound wideout outran two Wolverine defenders and hurled himself full extension to haul in a one-handed catch at the 2-yard line.
QB Chase Williams strolled across the goal line on the first play of the 4th quarter to give Damascus a 28-0 lead. The Swarmin’ Hornets tallied their final touchdown after both teams put their subs in.
Damascus (2-0) heads next to Wootton (2-0) on Friday night. Watkins Mill (1-1) faces another crucial 3A contest, this time against a Blake squad also coming off a 35-point shutout.
In two other marquee Montgomery County matchups from Friday night, Springbrook scored a 20-7 upset over Gaithersburg and Seneca Valley claimed its sixth straight “King’s Cup” with a 26-13 win over Northwest, according to The Gazette.
Here’s the rest of MCPS’s Sept. 7 line-up, according to The Washington Post:
- Bethesda-Chevy Chase 0, Linganore 21
- Wootton 21, Kennedy 9
- Rockville 34, Northwood 26
- Paint Branch 42, Magruder 0
- Poolesville 24, Richard Montgomery 12
- Quince Orchard 55, Blair 0
- Sherwood 35, Blake 0
- Walter Johnson 13, Clarksburg 12
- Einstein 26, Wheaton 9
- Churchill 33, Whitman 9