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Damascus disposes of stubborn Sherwood 23-20

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Published on: Thursday, October 04, 2012

By Christa Puccio

OLNEY – Sherwood, down 23-6 at the half, had an incredible comeback, but it wasn’t enough to pull off the “W” against Damascus, who won 23-20.

“They came back and they had a lot of heart,” Damascus Head Coach Eric Wallich.  “We knew they wouldn’t quit.  I think we got a little bit tired and they dug deep, but eventually we found a way and the kids made plays when they had to.”

Sherwood started off on top when running back Moses Vines carried in a five-yard touchdown with 3:45 remaining in the first quarter.  Damascus’ Rashard Budd blocked Sherwood Kicker Jake Ryder’s extra point attempt, ending the first quarter 6-0.

Damascus Kicker Joseph Curry hit a 32-yard field goal early into the second quarter, bringing the score to 6-3 Sherwood with 11:08 left in the half.

Damascus tried for an onsides kick, but Sherwood held on to the ball at its own 45-yard line.  Having a great advantage starting at the 45, Sherwood did nothing with the opportunity, dropping three passes and going three and out.  Damascus’ camouflaged crowd chanted “butterfingers” during Sherwood’s drive, or lack thereof.

“I thought we had some missed opportunities,” said Sherwood Head Coach Mike Bonavia.  “We need to catch the ball, we need to be big when it’s time to be big.”

Ryder was put under pressure by three rushing defenders, but he managed to get the kick off.  Unfortunately, Ryder only got the ball to Damascus’ 49-yard line.  Sherwood’s JC Carrington was called for holding on Damascus’ Zach Bradshaw, which brought the ball down to Sherwood’s 39-yard line.

With 6:57 remaining in the half, Damascus’ Stephon Jacob caught a 9-yard touchdown pass, but Curry missed the extra point.  Damascus still stole the lead, 9-6.

Damascus Caleb Baisden recovered a fumble by Sherwood Running Back Rich Dipietro on Sherwood’s 46 yard line just two plays after the kick return.  Immediately after, Bradshaw caught a 36-yard pass to bring Damascus in the red zone again at the 10-yard line.  Trevor Patton carried the ball in seven yards for another Damascus touchdown.  Curry made his extra point attempt this time around, which brought the game to 16-6 Damascus with 4:20 left in the first half.

Sherwood Shawn Kelly returned for a solid 39 yards to its own 45, but again Sherwood went three and out.  Bradshaw had a 72-yard punt return, bringing Damascus into red zone territory at the 12-yard line.  Damascus Quarterback Chase Williams carried the ball in for a 1-yard touchdown and Curry hit his extra point to up the score to 23-6 to end the first half.

“This was like a playoff type game,” said Wallich.  “We hadn’t really had a game where we were in an actual dog fight this year and so I just wanted to see how they responded and what kind of a team they were going to be.”

The second half was quite a different story.  Five minutes and 54 seconds into the second half, Sherwood Running Back Moses Vines ran the ball in for a 3-yard touchdown and Jake Ryder hit the extra point bringing the score to 23-13.

Sherwood started picking up some steam after that touchdown and really taking control of the game.  Sherwood Quarterback Jordan Larson carried in a 19-yard touchdown and Jake Ryder hit the extra point, bringing the score to 23-20 to end the third quarter.

“We made a great comeback and we showed a lot of character and composure, but we have to do it for 48 minutes,” said Bonavia.  “They’re a good football team and we’re going to try to bounce back and try to do the best we can in our region and learn from this and go on.”

Four minutes and 23 seconds into the fourth quarter, Curry kicked the ball too far left and missed a 30-yard field goal attempt for Damascus.

Sherwood holding their own had the ball on its own 47-yard line after returning one of Damascus’ punts.  With 3:36 left in the game, plenty of time still to tie the game with a field goal or even drive the ball down for a touchdown, Larsen threw an interception to Damascus’ Baisden to take over at Damascus’ 48-yard line.

“I think we were at a point where we lost all momentum and we had to do something to get it back and luckily we did,” said Baisden.

Sherwood at that point no longer had control of the game and Damascus drained the clock out for the remainder of the game to win 23-20.

“This isn’t a state championship, this is just a good win against a good opponent,” said Wallich.

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