Apr. 2—Marriotts Ridge took a big leap as a football program last season by winning a share of its first-ever county championship.
This season, the Mustangs have taken another step toward being one of Howard County's top football teams, and they proved it again Friday night.
The Mustangs defeated host Oakland Mills 37-0 for their third-straight shutout victory. Marriotts Ridge (3-0) has outscored its opponents by a combined 107-0 margin to open the COVID-shortened season.
"We knew no matter what happened this season — whether we'd have a county championship or we'd just have a few games — that we were going to be one of the best, if not the best, team in Howard County," said senior captain Jack Baxter. "We've been working toward that goal since last year. We had a good team last year, but we wanted to follow that up with an even better team."
While the Stangs' opponents — Centennial, Mt. Hebron and now Oakland Mills — aren't traditionally top teams in Howard County, a sign of an experienced team is often taking care of business against younger opponents.
"I'm really proud of the guys," said Marriotts Ridge head coach Marcus Lewis. "We're not overlooking anybody. We play who they put on the schedule and play as hard as we can and as disciplined as we can. We'll play anybody."
The Marriotts Ridge defense — led by seniors Jack Baxter, Cole Tran and Drew Ross — was unstoppable all evening Thursday, holding the Scorpions to negative-30 yards of offense in the first half and only 70 for the entire game. The Scorpions entered the game 2-0 and have one of the county's most dynamic offensive weapons in run-first quarterback Antoine Holmes.
"We have so many guys at each level who are so talented," said Baxter, a returning first-team All-County defensive lineman and a Shepherd University (Division II) commit. "On the defensive line, we have a great group, including myself. At linebacker, Drew is leading an amazing group with both young guys and older guys. And in the back, Cole is leading a great group with a bunch of seniors. We've been working since last year to have a dominant offense this year."
Kameron Young led the Marriotts Ridge offense with 125 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving. Quinn Kelley scored twice on the ground, and Steven Jackson also found the end zone with his legs.
"Our whole offense has been putting in that work all offseason," said quarterback Casey Pung. "Kam's a D-I athlete. He's insane. Quinn is a leader and has a high IQ of the offense. And Stevie is fast and quick. It's going to be hard to stop us this year."
Pung, who calmly managed the Stangs' offense, completed three passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. Lewis said Pung is one of the team's most improved players.
"It's totally different," Lewis said. "He's light-years ahead of where he was a year ago. He's physically and mentally matured, and he's more comfortable with the offense. Luckily, we're seeing the results of that."
To open the game at Oakland Mills (2-1), the Mustangs scored a 65-yard touchdown on the second play from scrimmage on a jet sweep flip pass from Pung to Young, who scooted around the edge and up the sideline untouched.
After the Scorpions' defense came up with a big stop in the red zone, an errant snap that Holmes fell on top of in the end zone increased Marriotts Ridge's advantage to nine midway through the first quarter.
The Mustangs went up 16-0 late in the first period after a drive led by Pung, who gained a first down with a 10-yard run and then followed it up with a 30-yard play-action pass to Tran. Kelley capped off the scoring drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone. Jackson then increased Marriotts Ridge's advantage early in the second quarter on a 27-yard run that showed his elusiveness and speed.
Junior defensive lineman Nate Harris recovered a fumble on the next drive after a botched snap. Harris is one of several talented players on a Marriotts Ridge defense that tallied eight sacks for minus-54 yards.
"I'm super proud of the defense," Lewis said. "They are locked in. We had a few lapses today, but in the end, they stood tall."
Young then gave the Mustangs a 30-0 lead on a tough 8-yard run, on which he looked to be stopped short of the goal line but kept churning his legs to get into the end zone. A few minutes later, Kelley scored again on a 1-yard dive for the game's final score. The touchdown initiated the running clock, which ran throughout the scoreless second half.
With several Marriotts Ridge starters resting, Oakland Mills' offense mounted a long drive and nearly scored at the end of the contest. Despite the game being out of hand, Baxter and the Mustangs were focused on securing the third straight shutout.
"It takes a lot of guys buying in to get a shutout," he said. "Everyone wants to be a part of a great defense, and we did that tonight."
Marriotts Ridge has two more games left on its schedule — home vs. Atholton next week and at currently undefeated River Hill on April 16.
Marriotts Ridge 37, Oakland Mills 0
MR — 16 21 0 0 — 37
OM — 0 0 0 0 — 0
MR: Kameron Young 65-yard pass from Casey Pung, Evan Bury kick 1/8 7-0 3/8
MR: Safety 1/8 9-0 3/8
MR: Quinn Kelley 1-yard run, Bury kick 1/8 16-0 3/8
MR: Steven Jackson 27-yard run, Bury kick 1/8 23-0 3/8
MR: Young 8-yard run, Bury kick 1/8 30-0 3/8
MR: Kelley 1-yard run, Bury kick 1/8 37-0 3/8
OTHER FOOTBALL SCORES
Howard 32, Hammond 13
The Lions (3-0) stayed unbeaten by outscoring the Golden Bears (0-4) 32-0 in the first half to create a lead too large to overcome. CJ Eley ran for three touchdowns, the longest a 77-yard rushing score with less than a minute left in the second quarter, and quarterback Kyle Colbert added two touchdowns on the ground as well.
Ho — 18 14 0 0 — 32
Ha — 0 0 7 6 — 13
Ho: Kyle Colbert 16-yard run, extra point no good 1/8 6-0 3/8
Ho: CJ Eley 44-yard run, extra point no good 1/8 12-0 3/8
Ho: Eley 8-yard run, extra point no good 1/8 18-0 3/8
Ho: Colbert 8-yard run, Camren Kovach kick good 1/8 25-0 3/8
Ho: Eley 77-yard run, Kovach kick good 1/8 32-0 3/8
Ha: Micah Austin 23-yards pass from Jordan Campbell, Michael Conway kick good 1/8 32-7 3/8
Ha: Campbell 2-yard run, kick blocked 1/8 32-13 3/8
River Hill 21, Atholton 14
The Hawks (3-0) got a 1-yard touchdown run from quarterback Dylan Burnett on fourth and goal with 2:26 remaining in the fourth quarter to break a tie game and provide the deciding points in a seven-point road win over the Raiders (1-2). It was the second touchdown of the game for Burnett, who also hooked up with receiver Devron Johnson for a passing score late in the second quarter to give the Hawks their first lead of the night just 41 seconds before halftime.
Atholton was led by Miles Scott, who threw for 169 yards and a touchdown to go along with 29 yards on the ground with another score. A 63-yard passing touchdown from Scott to Malik Hemmeian gave the Raiders a lead in the late stages of the first quarter.
A — 7 0 7 0 — 14
RH — 0 14 0 7 — 21
A: Malik Hemmeian 63-yard pass from Miles Scott, Chris Weber kick good 1/8 0-7 3/8
RH: Zach Igwebe 2-yard run, extra point no good 1/8 6-7 3/8
RH: Devron Johnson 17-yard pass from Dylan Burnett, two-point run by Igwebe good 1/8 14-7 3/8
A: Scott 1-yard run, Weber kick good 1/8 14-14 3/8
RH: Burnett 1-yard run, Poojan Patel kick good 1/8 21-14 3/8
Glenelg 41, Long Reach 0
Playing their first game of the season after having their first three contests postponed, the Gladiators (1-0) built a 28-0 lead by halftime and rolled the rest of the way to the shutout win over the Lightning (1-2).
Glenelg rushed for 241 yards on 28 carries. The Gladiators were led by Adrian Russell (12 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns), Robbie Tolbert (four carries for 60 yards and one touchdown) and Bisi Owens (five carries for 47 yards and one touchdown). In relief, David Toronto connected with Mitchell Steinberg on a 46-yard passing touchdown. Toronto also added a score with his legs. On defense, the Gladiators were led by Pierce Pusheck and Kevin Doughty. The Gladiators collected 4 turnovers on a strip sack by Bisi Owens, interceptions by Trisden Bovell and Zach Dubois with a fumble recovery.
G — 7 21 13 0 —41
LR — 0 0 0 0 — 0
G: Russell 7 yard run, Mike Fernandes kick 1/8 7-0 3/8
G: Tolbert 40 yard run, kick missed 1/8 13-0 3/8
G: Russell 3-yard run, Fernandes kick 1/8 20-0 3/8
G: Owens 12-yard run, Dalton pass from Owens 1/8 28-0 3/8
G: Toronto 2-yard run, attempt failed (34-0)
G: Steinberg 46-yard pass from Toronto, Fernandes kick (41-0)
Wilde Lake 38, Mt. Hebron 0
The Wildecats improved to 3-1 with the win over the Vikings. Mt. Hebron stuck with Wilde Lake in the first half, as the Wildecats only led 9-0 entering halftime. However, the Wilde Lake offense exploded in the second half en route to the blowout. Quarterback Doniele Cooper ran for a touchdown and threw for two scores — one to Justin Avinger and the other to Ramal West. Amari Hutson also ran for a touchdown, and Max Richardson had a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown.
WL — 0 3 14 21 — 38
MH — 0 0 0 0 — 0
WL: Grant Gladden 22-yard field goal 1/8 3-0 3/8
WL: Justin Avinger 10-yard pass from Doniele Cooper, kick blocked 1/8 9-0 3/8
WL: Cooper 5-yard run, Cooper run 1/8 17-0 3/8
WL: Amari Hutson 10-yard run, Gladden kick 1/8 24-0 3/8
WL: Ramal West 44-yard pass from Cooper, Gladden kick 1/8 31-0 3/8
WL: Max Richardson 35-yard interception return, Gladden kick 1/8 38-0 3/8
Centennial at Reservoir PPD