When people think of a rainy football game, the first thought that often comes to mind is a smash-mouth football game; one of a very quick clock and a hard running game.
That was the story Thursday afternoon at Dundalk, until a 50-yard strike through the air scored the only points of the contest, allowing No. 17 Chesapeake-Baltimore County to remain undefeated with a 6-0 decision over the host Owls in a Baltimore County non-conference match.
“We played together, which is the key thing,” Chesapeake coach Mark Junker said. “We knew it was going to be a tough fight withDundalk. They came into the game undefeated, and they’ve always played us tough, so we knew it was going to be a dogfight all the way through.”
Fighting the nagging rain and the effects of a recently injured starting quarterback Delvonata Cole, the Bayhawks (3-0 overall) diverted from a four-play running drive and asked senior back-up Eric Doyle to throw the ball down field to junior Quenton Clifton for a 50-yard touchdown strike.
But it wasn’t the fact that the Bayhawks asked Doyle to go deep, or that they chose to throw with the weather conditions. What made the play exciting was how Clifton put his athleticism on display.
Catching the ball near the 30-yard line, Clifton was quickly stood up by two Owl defensive backs, kept his composure and used his free hand to stay off the ground, and streaked by the remaining defenders for the touchdown with 4 minutes, 29 seconds remaining in the game.
“I just felt as though I had to make a big play for my team,” Clifton said. “I give it to the line and the quarterback who threw the ball to
me. He came through and made a good play.”
“It was one play that made the difference in the game it was such an evenly fought game,” Junker added.
The Bayhawks struggled with field position most of the game, and, despite 164 yards in total offense (104 rushing), they only entered Dundalk (2-1) territory once before their scoring drive.
Much of Chesapeake’s offensive trouble was thanks to a terrific display of defense from Dundalk, who received quarterback sacks from juniors N’Didi Ibe and Shaquil Lane, and senior Phillip Borczon, and forced a fumble on the 19-yard line to keep the shutout intact. The Owls limited the Bayhawks to two completions in six attempts.
“It was a defensive struggle like last year,” Owls’ head coach Mike Downes said. “[Junker’s] got my number, I guess. They just made a play. The game came down to who made the play and they made one and we didn’t. It is just the way it is.
Both teams played hard and neither of the coaches should have a problem with the effort that they got. Both teams played their butts
Chesapeake’s defense was also on its game, keeping Dundalk to 39 yards rushing and into the red zone twice, despite the Owls’ starting at the Bayhawks’ 30-, 48-, 45-, 39- and 45-yard lines.
“Our defense has always been solid, for the last three years I have played varsity,” said Bayhawks senior linemen Edwin Thomason, whose unit allowed five yards in the air. “We pulled it out at the end, and made the plays we needed to make. The defensive line stepped up, fired low in the gap and did what we had to do.”
“They were bringing a lot of pressure and we just couldn’t handle it,” Downes explained. “It wasn’t that we didn’t prepare for it, we did, and it wasn’t like it was a surprise for us. We just didn’t execute the plays.”
The Bayhawks have a full week to prepare for No. 12 Eastern Tech next Friday, while Dundalk look to rebound against Loch Raven.
“We have to keep working like we have,” Junker said. “We have to work hard every day and come to practice every day with our team working hard.
We know everyone is up to play us and we know we have to bring our best every game, so we are just trying to compete each week and get ready for the game.”
No. 17 Chesapeake-BC 6, Dundalk 0
C-Clifton 50 pass from Doyle (conversion failed)