Sunday, April 20, 2014 6:48 AM
Published on: Thursday, November 08, 2012
By Steve Ruiz
With their starting running back sitting out injured and their quarterback on the sideline being examined by medics, Seneca Valley needed someone to step up and carry the team.
Backup running back Kevin Joppy put the Screaming Eagles on his back—and the Watkins Mill defense on theirs—scoring two touchdowns, including a game-winning four-yard touchdown plunge late in the third quarter, in a 20-14 home win over the Wolverines on senior night.
Joppy, a 5-foot-10 junior filling in for the injured James Jones-Williams, had carried the ball 27 times all season coming in to the game; on Friday night, he carried it 34 times, gashing the Watkins Mill defense for 163 yards.
“That was the most carries I ever had,” Joppy said. “Our starting running back is out and I stepped in—I put the team on my back. But I have to shout out the offensive line. They did their thing.”
Seneca Valley lost quarterback Calvin Reighard late in the second quarter when the junior signal caller took a helmet-to-helmet shot that left him motionless on the turf. He was able to walk off the field under his own power, but did not return to the game.
Watkins Mill lost their quarterback even earlier. Senior Patrick Schlosser sat out the remainder of the contest after an apparent arm injury on just the third play of the game. The Wolverines were forced into a rotation of running backs and wide receivers taking snaps.
“We were throwing people in there at different positions that haven’t played it,” Watkins Mill coach Kevin Watson said. “When you lose one or two guys that are key it hurts, then you have to try to move guys around a little bit.”
The Wolverines were able to overcome the early setback and jumped out to a lead mid-way through the first quarter. Defensive back Dontay Hears gave Watkins Mills a short field after returning a Reighard interception to the Seneca Valley 10-yard-line. The Wolverine offense took advantage of the short field, with Malik Brooks scoring on a seven-yard run that gave Watkins Mill a 6-0 lead after missing the extra point.
Seneca Valley answered with a touchdown drive of their own, with Reighard capping off the 12-play, 60-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
After recovering a fumbled punt return, Watkins Mill regained the lead on 12-yard run by Hears. A two-point conversion gave the Wolverines a 14-7 lead late in the first half.
But that’s when Joppy took over. After a 27-yard reception brought his team to the doorstep of the Wolverine end zone, the diminutive back powered his way in to the end zone from three yards out to level the score going into the break.
After losing Reighard, and already missing back-up quarterback Maurice Gaines due to injury, Seneca Valley coach Fred Kim was forced to go with receiver Travis Arthur under center. But even with the Watkins Mill keyed in on the run, Joppy was able to find success behind a stout offensive line recovering from a difficult game last week.
“We challenged them last week, because we did an absolute horrific job against Damascus,” Kim said. “[Watkins Mill] put all 11 guys in the box, and they pounded it in there.”