Despite having a 20-0 lead at halftime, Oakland Mill’s head coach Jimmy DiPietro had a stern warning for his players. He told his team to think back to a certain game three years ago and prepare for a stiff test from Howard in the second half.
“When we played them as freshman, when [the seniors] were down on JV, we lost to them 29-28 after being up 28-0,” said DiPietro. “So I told them in the locker room not to sleep on these guys because that is the same core of guys that did that to us and they [almost] did to us again.”
The Lions made a valiant effort, scoring 26 points in the second half but could not stop the Scorpions’ high-octane offense. Oakland Mills pulled out a 41-26 victory on Friday afternoon in a game that was closer than the final score indicated.
The Scorpions offense is laced with talent at the skill positions. Senior All-Howard County wide receiver Terrance Drew leads the way with senior running backs Chris Childers and Trayvon Lee.
Drew had 232 total yards while Childers carried the ball 18 times for 76 yards and a touchdown and Lee finished with 109 yards and two scores against Howard.
“We have a lot of weapons on offense,” said DiPietro. “If you try to block the pass, we’ll hit you with the run. If we’re in a jam with the run, it’s hard to cover all of those receivers…It’s just simple chess.”
The Scorpions (3-0) jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter, scoring touchdowns on their first three drives, all in a span of less than two minutes in time of possession.
Drew returned the opening kickoff 85-yards for a score, just 16 seconds into the contest.
“That play was actually big on offense and defense,” said Drew. “We focus on being explosive so we can get the momentum going on our side.”
After a Howard punt, Oakland Mills capped a three-play scoring drive, that lasted just over a minute, when Drew caught a 79-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jarrod Montoya.
On the first play of the next drive, Montoya tossed an 84-yard bomb to senior wide receiver Troy Schofield to give Oakland Mills a 20-0 lead with five minutes left in the first quarter.
“It was really important [to get off to a quick start] because in football, everything is about momentum,” said Montoya, who went 10-for-21 passing and 255 yards. “It doesn’t really matter which team is better or who has a better record. Momentum shifts in the game and if you’re the [team] that starts with the momentum then the game is yours.”
Behind fiery coach Bruce Strunk, the Lions never quit and fought back to within seven points, at 27-20, after junior running back Joey Bonavitacola (17 carries, 209 yards) ran for a 71-yard score with 1:07 left in the third quarter.
Howard (2-1) began the comeback attempt after running back Ryan Caruso and quarterback Ryan Wade scored on back-to-back drives with a 35-yard and 1-yard touchdown run respectively in the third quarter.
But Oakland Mills dug deep and stopped the Lions when it had to and received two rushing touchdowns from Lee to in the fourth quarter to hang on for the win.
Last season, the Columbia school mustered a total of 97 points and won only one game. In 2010, the Scorpions have amassed 122 points in three contests, all wins.
“It’s a beautiful transition,” said Lee. “We have a lot of seniors and we’re trying to capitalize off that. We were all young last year so we’re trying to come back big this year. It’s a beautiful start. We’re just trying to keep going, taking it one game at a time.”
CLICK RELATED VIDEOS AT TOP FOR HIGHLIGHTS
|Oakland Mills 41, Howard 26|
|OM-Drew 85 kick ret. (kick failed) – 14:46|
|OM-Drew 79 pass from Montoya (Andrews kick) – 7:20|
|OM-Schofield 84 pass from Montoya (Andrews kick) – 5:05|
|HOW-Caruso 35 run (kick failed) – 7:26|
|HOW-Wade 1 run (run failed) – 6:17|
|OM-Childress 3 run (Andrews kick) – 1:53|
|HOW-Bonavitacola 71 run (Bonavitacola run) – 1:07|
|OM-Lee 37 run (Andrews kick) – 6:06|
|HOW-Bonavitacola 10 run (Andrews kick) – 4:00|
|OM-Lee 11 run (Andrews kick) – 3:16|