Warrior Defense Dominates Devils

The Warriors bust their banner and take the field before their playoff victory over the Springbrook Blue Devils. Photo by Alyx Henry.
The Warriors bust their banner and take the field before their playoff victory over the Springbrook Blue Devils. Photo by Alyx Henry.

Sherwood Warriors 37- Springbrook Blue Devils 0

MPSSAA 4A West Regional Semi-Final

November 12, 2010

Two weeks ago on October 22, the Springbrook Blue Devils traveled to Sherwood to take on the host Warriors in a game that would allow Sherwood to clinch a playoff berth and keep Springbrook’s playoff hopes alive.

Sherwood (9-1) won that match handily shutting out the Devils (7-4) and went on to defeat the Quince Orchard Cougars en route to the No. 1 overall seed in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s state-wide tournament. However the Devils made the playoffs by the skin of their teeth as the states lowest seed and now on Friday, November 12, had to journey back to Sherwood for their first round game.

This evening’s contest did not prove to be the upset the Blue Devils were looking for. They were shut out again by the stout Warrior defense and held to 102 yards of total offense, averaged 2.8 yards per play and turned the ball over five times in the second half resulting in 23 Sherwood points.

“Our defense has really been playing well. We had five turnovers and that’s a big difference. We moved the ball well at times and I was proud of that. The defense played real well. That was definitely the difference in the game,” said Sherwood head coach Marc Thomas. “Turnovers are always nice. It re-energizes the kids and gets your blood going. Then you hop in there on offense and try and get some points out of it.”

The Warriors opened the scoring in front of a packed house at Caruso Memorial Stadium in Sandy Spring with just under two minutes remaining in the first half. A ten play, 72-yard drive was capped off when senior quarterback A.J. Pignone found senior receiver Alex Cole on a fade route from 25-yards out. Then 137 seconds later, after forcing the Devils to punt, Pignone snuck into the endzone from the one-yard-line. Just like that the Warriors led 14-0, the final score the last time these teams met.

“We had to step it up on D,” said senior defensive end Lance Toomer. “We knew we had to come in at take them out of the game early so they don’t have the mindset that oh, they got this game. We couldn’t let them think like that. We had to step it up after halftime. We were winning 14-0 and we were not satisfied at all so we had to step it up.”

The Sherwood defense came up big to start the second half. Merely seven plays into the half senior Pat Sumner intercepted Springbrook quarterback Irvin Smith’s pass over the middle. Four plays after that, sophomore kicker Jake Ryder extended the Warrior lead to 17 after a 33-yard field goal.

Four Blue Devil turnovers and 20 Warrior points later, this one was in the books, though the route was on before the fourth quarter began. Sherwood led 20-0 to begin the final period and as Springbrook and Sherwood fans began filing out of the stadium the Warrior pep band played a dirge, followed by a mocking version of Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” as they too left early.

“I always have a headache after every game because I scream so much,” said Thomas who picked up his first playoff victory as a head coach with this win, “but otherwise it feels great. I’m proud that it went down this way. We were able to shut them out and score a good deal of points. I’m very happy with how we played.”

Though Springbrook’s season is ended with the loss, the playoffs roll on for Sherwood. The rival Gaithersburg Trojans come to Sandy Spring next Friday, November 20. The Warriors previously defeated the Trojans in week five, but Gaithersburg quarterback Zach Fetters allotted for 205 yards of total offense that game and a touchdown. He’ll be looking to lead his Trojans past the Warriors who gave them their only loss of the year.

“They are a great team, so it should be a great game,” said Thomas. “Hopefully we can come out victorious. We’ll have to fire on all cylinders to beat them.”


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