Sherwood Takes First Loss Out on Churchill

Sherwood Warriors 41- Winston Churchill Bulldogs 14

October 22, 2010

On Friday October 15, the Damascus Hornets (8-0) extended their winning streak over the rival Sherwood Warriors (7-1) again. The Warriors have not defeated the Hornets in seven years and that is something that certainly weighs heavily on Sherwood seniors, a group that has been swept by Damascus throughout their high school careers. On October 22, the Warriors traveled to Shepherd Stadium at Winston Churchill High School to take on the Bulldogs (4-4) and possibly let off some anger still brewing from the Damascus loss that spoiled the Warriors’ unbeaten record.

“Whenever you lose you’re mad and when you’re mad you usually need someone to take it out on. I guess we took our anger out on Churchill tonight,” said senior receiver Alex Cole, who was recently selected to his first Maryland Crab Bowl. “We had to. There’s no way you can lose a big game like that and not come out with a chip on your shoulder. Basically we concentrated on Churchill and came out and did what we needed to do.”

Sherwood began the scoring quickly. After forcing the Bulldogs three-and-out their first possession, the Warriors took over with prime field position after a superb Danny Hunt punt-return. Five Dylan Hubbard rushers later the Warriors struck pay-dirt. Hubbard pranced into the endzone untouched from one yard out. Sophomore kicker Jake Ryder added the point after and the Warriors had an early lead they would not relinquish.

Junior Rich DiPietro intercepted Churchill quarterback Lansana Keita’s pass over the middle and returned it to the Churchill 34-yard-line. This time A.J. Pignone, playing through a torn rotator cuff sustained on the third play of the Damascus game, completed a nine-yard swing pass to Cole for the score.

The Warriors would end the half leading by 35 points and with additional scores coming from Joseph Cohen on a swing pass similar to the one caught by Cole, another Hubbard run and a 74-yard punt-return for a touchdown from senior Michael Begley.

Primarily known for his lacrosse prowess, Begley decided to lace up for Sherwood’s football team for his senior year and has already returned two kicks for scores. He also leads the Warrior receiving corps in touchdowns through the air and receiving yards.

“We played real well and I guess we got some turnovers and a punt run back and we got real good field position,” said head coach Marc Thomas. “We executed really well. I guess it all came down to that. This week we challenged the kids to execute and they stepped up. We had a big first half.”

Sherwood would score once more in the third quarter on a 23-yard run by Braelin Howard, and then finally yield the scoreboard to the Bulldogs who refused to be shut out. With just over two minutes remaining the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs were able to punch in two scores; first when Keita called his own number and jumped the pile from the one-yard-line; second when Keita found receiver Marcus Brown wide open in the corner of the endzone for a 32-yard strike with 35-seconds remaining.

In an attempt to rally the troops, Churchill attempted a “stampede” on-side kick on the ensuing kickoff, which Sherwood recovered, but not without arguably the scariest moment in Montgomery County football occurring on the play. Junior Olijawan Griffin recovered the kick and was subsequently hit in a helmet-to-helmet collision by Churchill defensive back Aik Davis that sent Griffin writhing in pain to the sideline where he lost his balance and fell awkwardly while trying to sit down. His condition is being described as a neck injury and he was moving as an ambulance took him from the field after the game’s conclusion.

Next week the Warriors return home to face rushing sensation Devon Pestano and the Springbrook Blue Devils while the Bulldogs hope to reload in time to upset the high-riding B-CC Barons on Senior Night at Shepherd Stadium.


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