GAITHERSBURG — Now undefeated for nine straight games, the Damascus Swarmin’ Hornets dispatched the Seneca Valley Screamin’ Eagles 44-20 in a football match that was harder than the score implies.
The Swarmin’ Hornets going against the Screamin’ Eagles always makes for an exciting match, and this game was no exception. Both teams traded the lead for a while after Seneca Valley's Harold Dotson scored the first touchdown in the second quarter.
“We were used to that. Every year those guys are coming in and it’s the biggest game of the year,” said Seneca Valley head coach Fred Kim.
A field goal from junior kicker Junior Baires put Damascus on the board, and a touchdown later in the second quarter put the Swarmin’ Hornets on top going into halftime.
On the first drive of the third quarter, senior quarterback Michael Kapneck Jr. rushed for 51 yards into the end zone to give the Screamin’ Eagles the lead once more. They went for two but failed, although they still kept the lead.
Senior running back Gavin Freeman carried the ball into the end zone to bounce the lead back into the Swarmin’ Hornets’ hands, and Baires followed up with a successful kick for an extra point.
Damascus sophomore offensive lineman Ryan Benjamin was injured and had to be carted off in the third quarter, which was a bit of a turning point for the team.
If the first three quarters were a competitive match between the two teams, then the fourth quarter clearly missed the memo.
The Swarmin’ Hornets outscored the Screamin’ Eagles 28-7 in the fourth quarter alone, and scored more in the fourth quarter than in the rest of the game. The Seneca Valley defense fell apart and could not keep up with the more experienced Damascus offense that, at times, seemed to be toying with them.
Senior running back Jevani Christian started scoring in the fourth quarter for the Swarmin’ Hornets. The Screamin’ Eagles retaliated with their last touchdown from senior wide receiver Jamal Snowden.
The highlight reel moment came from Damascus senior running back Dustin Kitzmiller’s 80-plus-yard kick return touchdown, on the drive after Snowden’s touchdown.
“Once you get some momentum going, sometimes good things happen. It was kind of the other way in the first half. It was a combination of wearing them down and having some momentum,” said Damascus head coach Eric Wallich.
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