Perry Hall junior running back Patrick Clemons rushed for 161 rushing yards and three touchdowns as the Gators defeated Parkville, 23-14, Friday evening in a Baltimore County 4A/3A league match.

But at the game’s outset, things could not have gone any worse for the Gators.

Punting at their own 17 yard line on fourth-and-16 after going three and out on their first drive, Parkville’s Dante Knight blocked the Gators’ ensuing punt, which was recovered by junior De’Quan Knight in the end zone.

On the Gators’ next play from scrimmage, junior quarterback Mike DeBaugh’s screen pass was picked off by Ryan Davis, who raced 32 yards untouched for another quick score. Darius Nickens ran in for the two-point conversion as Parkville held a 14-0 advantage before taking their first offensive snap.

“You game plan all week and you envision how you’re going to come out and start the game and, certainly, you never think you’re going to come out like that,” said Perry Hall coach Keith Robinson. “We put ourselves in a hole, but we knew it was a long game and that we’d be fine.”

After another three and out, Perry Hall began to firmly establish their dominance in the trenches with an effective running attack. Clemons capped off a nine-play, 60-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run with 1 minute, 21 seconds left in the first quarter, the Gators’ lone score of the first half.

Clemons capped his big night with a 48-yard touchdown scamper up the middle of Parkville’s defense with 10:04 remaining in the game.

The Perry Hall defense swarmed to the ball all night, never allowing the Knights to establish a running game. Parkville quarterback Omari Timmons completed some tough passes early in the face of constant pressure early on. But the Gators pass rush and excellent coverage in the secondary bothered Timmons throughout the game, producing five interceptions.

“Our defense has been lights out all year,” said Robinson. “None of their points came against our defense. They’ve been the strength of our team so far. And our tailback, Patrick Clemons is a beast for us. He’s a special player and a weapon.”

There was some tense moments late in the game as Timmons took an inadvertent knee to the chest after his pass was intercepted by Perry Hall’s Tyler Wilson. As he laid on the grass, he began experiencing shortness of breath.

Timmons sat up after a few minutes before laying back down. The attending training staff cut off his jersey and removed his shoulder pads as he lay motionless for close to twenty minutes. Timmons was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.  Before being loaded into the ambulance though, he was able to move his arms and legs, and flashed two thumbs up to the relieved spectators as he was lifted into the ambulance.

The injury scare marred a competitive, well fought game by both teams.

“The heart our guys showed by hanging in and letting the game play out, after that rough start, I’m proud of them for that,” said Robinson. “It doesn’t matter what the score is at the end of the first quarter, what matters is the score at the end of the fourth.”

Perry Hall (3-1) travels to Kenwood next Friday. Parkville (2-2) visits Hereford next Friday evening.

Perry Hall 23, Parkville 14
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1st Q
Parkville-Dukes fumble recovery in end zone (run failed)
Parkville-Davis 23 interception return (Nickens run)
Perry Hall-Clemons 12 run (McQuay kick)
3rd Q
Perry Hall-McQuay 35 field goal

Perry Hall-Clemons 4 run (run failed)

4th Q
Perry Hall-Clemons 48 run (McQuay kick)