SILVER SPRING – The Paint Branch varsity football team beat Montgomery Blair 12-7 Friday, in a game where the two teams played against each other and the elements. Blair defensive back Chris Green (10) tackles Paint Branch running back Justin Hockaday (23). PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH “It’s tough, two passing teams that are fighting winds […]
SILVER SPRING – The Paint Branch varsity football team beat Montgomery Blair 12-7 Friday, in a game where the two teams played against each other and the elements.
“It’s tough, two passing teams that are fighting winds and rain, it’s very difficult,” said Blair head coach Andrew Fields. “It affected both teams equally.”
Paint Branch’s first possession started on the 50 yard line and two back-to-back offsides penalties on the Blazers helped move the Panthers down the field.
Senior quarterback Armani Ceballos connected with senior wide receiver Ivan Nnadi in the end zone for the touchdown but a bad snap botched the extra point.
Blair’s offense started with a short field but failed to launch as Paint Branch senior linebacker Jonathan Somuah sacked junior quarterback Desmond Colby for a three-and-out.
Ceballos and sophomore running back Justin Hockaday ran for first downs and senior Jordan Hill caught a 30-yard pass in the end zone.
A holding penalty on the Panthers negated the touchdown and a sack by Blair senior defensive end David Holloway on Ceballos turned the ball over on downs.
Paint Branch received the ball to start the second quarter.
However, Blair senior safety Chris Green intercepted Ceballos on fourth-and-14, resulting in another turnover on downs and an unsportsmanlike conduct call on the Panthers.
With two minutes left in the half, Panthers receiver JD Guerrero intercepted Colby but a fumble at the 4-yard-line on third-and-goal kept Paint Branch from scoring again.
At the start of the second half, Blair junior Eric Zokouri ran untouched up the middle for the touchdown to put Blair on the board before senior Brian Guzman successfully kicked the extra point.
Yet Zokouri fumbled at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Panthers had two back-to-back false start penalties on fourth down but Nnadi made a catch at the 2-yard-line to bring up first-and-goal.
Hockaday jumped into the end zone for the score but a dropped two-point conversion attempt kept the score at its eventual final mark of 12-7.
“A lot of the mistakes that we made in the red zone, I can’t attribute to the weather. It was our lack of execution,” said Panthers head coach Mike Nesmith.
“Blair did a good job on defense. That stopped us in the red zone and on scoring opportunities. But [we] found a way to win in nasty conditions and that’s what I’m pleased about.”