GAITHERSBURG — Seneca Valley (2-0) defeated Gaithersburg (0-2) 42-2, as the Screaming Eagles won their home opener at their temporary home field at John H. Harvill Stadium at Gaithersburg High School.
Running back Semaj Meannu’s first touchdown of the night was a good omen for the Screaming Eagles. On the only the second play from scrimmage to begin the game, Meannu, broke a 56-yard touchdown run, making one cut and going untouched through the heart of the Gaithersburg defense.
While Gaithersburg struggled early, their offense, led by senior running back Ofori Sidrick and senior quarterback Tyler Woodward, steadily took the Trojans on a nine-play drive that ended in a blocked-field goal attempt that Seneca Valley defensive back Harold Dotson returned for a touchdown.
Dotson said he knew his teammates would block the kick, when Gaithersburg lined up for a field goal attempt late in the first quarter.
Since they practiced it all week long, Dotson knew exactly where to be, taking the blocked kick 90 yards back for a touchdown to give the Screaming Eagles a 14-point lead over the Trojans.
“We worked on it all practice as a team, we work on it every day – every single day,” Dotson said of the team’s field goal block play.
Seneca Valley never looked back.
Led by Dotson’s blocked field goal for a touchdown, the Screaming Eagles followed up with two more touchdowns by Meannu, an 11-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Michael Kapneck, Jr. to Dotson, and a 55-yard touchdown run by Derrell Beckett-Simms.
Late in the second quarter, Kapneck fumbled the ball in the Screaming Eagles’ own end zone, where a Seneca Valley player quickly jumped on it to lead to Gaithersburg’s only score of the game – a safety.
“We needed to play well because we knew that we had an upcoming obviously who’s next – Northwest, who is a very powerful team,” said Seneca Valley Head Coach Fred Kim. “…In order for us to have any chance against them we couldn’t have a dud here or lay an egg, we had to have a convincing win.”
Kim said Meannu’s dominant performance came “out of nowhere” as this season is Meannu’s first opportunity to play varsity after former Seneca Valley running backs Adrian Platt and Darius Golston graduated last spring. In total, Meannu carried the ball nine times, rushing for 159 yards and three touchdowns.
“The main thing was our o-line, they stepped up big time,” Meannu said. “I can’t even take any credit – it was the o-line, it was not me at all.”
Kim said sophomore linemen Aaron Beckwith, Diego Turcious and Ryan Benjamin have added size to Seneca Valley’s line, making it a strong offense, along with returning starters Roman Roberson and Edgar Guerero.
“For once we finally have some size on our offensive line,” Kim said.
Next up for the Screaming Eagles is a crosstown trip to rival Northwest, while Gaithersburg travels to Potomac to face Churchill.
Friday night’s game was officially Seneca Valley’ home opener, although it was played on Gaithersburg’s John H. Harvill Stadium, a temporary home field for the 2017 season, while Seneca Valley’s home field is still under renovation.