- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Change of pace kickstarts H-town offense in win over L-town
By JAMES A. McCRAY III
It took the third Huntingtown Hurricanes offensive series for junior running back Arnez Bowens to touch the football, but it only took the second time touching it to change the game.
After picking up only two yards on his first rushing attempt, Bowens took his second touch 78 yards for the first Huntingtown touchdown of the night, helping the Hurricanes to a 7-0 lead in its contest with the hosting Leonardtown Raiders on Friday night.
Bowens continued to run up and down the Raiders Stadium field, busting out for two more touchdowns of 75 and 40 yards, both scored in the third quarter.
Bowens’ big-play ability amounted to 254 rushing yards, three touchdowns and eventually a Huntingtown 42-24 victory, keeping he and the Hurricanes undefeated this season.
“The offensive line really helped, I couldn’t have done it without the line,” Bowens said. “They opened up the holes and I made the cuts and made big plays.”
Rushing for 254 yards on 14 attempts, Bowens finished the contest with an 18.1 yards per carry average and head coach Brendan Galligan admitted that inserting him into the backfield late in the first quarter was the move that ignited that Hurricanes offense.
“We were stalling,” Galligan said. “Leonardtown did a good job of shutting us down. We were sloppy, but that’s the way we have practiced all week, but he [Bowens] was the spark plug tonight. He made two big plays, worked hard and he’s a good kid. I’m glad he got his reward tonight.”
Huntingtown (6-0, 5-0 SMAC) took a 21-0 lead into the halftime after quarterback Zach Piazza (4 of 9 passing, 139 yards) found Robbie Payne for a 75-yard touchdown and Timothy Pawlowski for a 14-yard touchdown, both in the second quarter.
Stretching the lead further, was Bowens’ 75-yard touchdown only three plays into the second half, taking it to 28-0. His 40-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter answered a 26-yard Leonardtown field goal from Doug Baumann, putting the Hurricanes up 35-3.
Despite his team’s offensive prowess, it was also the defense Galligan was pleased with as it had to deal with a gimmicky Leonardtown offense throughout.
“We survived that,” Galligan admitted. “They threw the kitchen sink at us. There was a hook and ladder, a halfback pass, a double pass and a fake punt all in the first [half]. We tried to be disciplined and we got lucky on a few of the plays.”
Huntingtown senior linebacker Josh Woodburn admitted that the trick plays had him and his defense on its heels throughout.
“It was because your instinct tells you to go get the ball,” Woodburn said. “But, we’re a good defense. We have a lot of young kids, but I like what we have going. … It is hard to stay disciplined, but I think we’re up to the challenge.”
Huntingtown now will mount up and get ready to host the undefeated Patuxent Panthers at 7 p.m. Friday, an in-county meeting of two undefeated teams and a game that has become the focus for the Hurricanes.
“This is our homecoming and we’re going to be ready to play,” Bowens said.
Woodburn added, “We have a big game [this] week, but this was a good game for us and we didn’t want to look past it. Leonardtown is a good team and it feels good to get a win here. Now we can focus on Patuxent in our next game.”
Friday’s loss snapped a Leonardtown three-game winning streak and dropped the Raiders to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in SMAC play.
Raiders head coach Mike Nines was proud of his team’s ability to score 21 fourth-quarter points after being down 35-3 going into the period.
“The attitude is different,” Nines said. “They don’t give up, they don’t quit, they play until the end and I love that about them.”
Leonardtown running back Stephen Stewart (74 yards) rushed for two of the scores, from one and seven yards out, and quarterback Zac Sparshott found Cortez Bush for a 25-yard touchdown late.
“We gave up a couple of big plays,” Nines said of the game. “The first quarter seemed to just go by and then they busted two big plays, one where didn’t line up in the right spot, and they took advantage of that. It was just one missed tackle here and there. Collectively, we played well. … We eliminate a couple of their big plays; maybe it’s a different score.”
Leonardtown will host Great Mills at 6 p.m. Friday.
Pax downs Hornets
Patuxent kept its undefeated season intact with a 60-12 victory over Great Mills on Friday night.
Panthers head coach Steve Crounse and Hornets head coach Tyrone Bell both could not be reached for comment by press time for information regarding this contest.
Patuxent (6-0, 4-0) will travel to Huntingtown for a 7 p.m. Friday contest that pits two undefeated teams, while Great Mills (0-6, 0-4) goes to Leonardtown for a 6 p.m. contest Friday.
Huntingtown 42, Leonardtown 24
Huntingtown 7 14 14 7
Leonardtown 0 0 3 21
H Bowens 78 run (Reeves kick), 11:12
H Payne 75 pass from Piazza (Reeves kick), 6:40
H Pawlowski 14 pass from Piazza (Reeves kick), 11:07
H Bowens 75 run (Reeves kick), 1:15
L FG Baumann 26, 7:19
H Bowens 40 run (Reeves kick), 10:32
L Stewart 1 run (Baumann kick), 3:03
L Stewart 7 run (Baumann kick), 10:40
H Schug 45 kick return (Reeves kick), 10:46
L Bush 25 pass from Sparshott (Baumann kick), 11:25
H (8 first downs, 29-311 rushing, 139 passing, 1-0 fumbles, 6-60 penalties)
L (17 first downs, 40-125 rushing, 222 passing, 0-0 fumbles, 3-30 penalties)
Top individual performers
Rushing H: Bowens 14-254, Rowe 3-39; L: Stewart 21-74, Bush 5-36
Passing H: Piazza 4-9-0 139; L: Sparshott 14-29-0 208, Bush 1-4-0 14
Receiving H: Payne 2-88, Pawlowski 2-5; L: Bush 8-126, Skuza 3-53