SILVER SPRING – After thunderstorms delayed kickoff by two hours Friday night, the Montgomery Blair varsity football team made the best of its homecoming in the end, defeating visiting Springbrook 38-20.
The upset victory ticked the Blazers’ overall record to 4-2, matching that of the Blue Devils as both teams officially entered the second half of the regular season.
Blair senior Chris Green turned in a big day on offense and defense with a pair of touchdowns. He also intercepted a pass right at the Blazers’ goal line and, on the next run from scrimmage, darted 99 yards to pay dirt.
Meanwhile, junior quarterback Desmond Colby led the Blazers’ offense with three touchdown passes, first connecting with junior wide receiver Cliff Carter on Blair’s second possession of the game.
Carter took off down the field for a 70 yard touchdown and senior place kicker Brian Guzman booted the extra point to put the Blazers up 7-0.
Springbrook answered on the next possession, as senior running back Shawn Cazeau ran hard for first downs.
The Blue Devils faced a third-and-15 when senior quarterback Lawrence Cadet darted through the Blair defense for a touchdown. Cazeau jumped into the end zone for the two point conversion.
Springbrook senior Redwan Sesay fumbled at the end of the first quarter and Blair recovered. First down runs by junior Eric Zokouri and senior running back J’Den Seals then put the Blazers to the red zone but the Blue Devils’ defense held its own and denied the home team an opportunity for a touchdown.
Guzman came in on fourth-and-goal for the field goal to put Blair ahead.
Later in the quarter, Cadet handed off to Cazeau, but the senior fell down without being touched. He was helped off the field and did not return to the game due to a knee injury.
“He’s one of the captains and leaders of this team. As soon as that happened it kind of deflated everybody,” said Springbrook head coach Jason Lomax. “When your number one horse goes down, there’s not much you can do about it.”
Blazers senior safety Lytton Xu capitalized on the momentum shift and intercepted Cadet a few plays later, returning the pick-six for a 35-yard touchdown.
Springbrook then fumbled on its next two possessions and Blair’s defenders recovered both times.
“We turned the ball over too many times,” said Lomax. “When you turn the ball over that much, you’re not going to win any football games.”
Blair opened the third quarter with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Colby to Green.
Springbrook couldn’t answer and the Blazers soon found the end zone again. This time, Zokouri caught a short pass from Colby and ran 58 yards for the score to put Blair up 31-8.
The Blue Devils finally broke the Blazers’ momentum when Cadet threw to sophomore receiver Deson Flood, who raced downfield for a 50-yard touchdown. Blair’s defense held strong during Springbrook’s two-point conversation attempt, putting the score at 31-14.
Interceptions dominated the final quarter of play.
First, Blair’s defense rushed hard at Cadet, causing him to scramble to avoid a sack. That caused the hurried quarterback to throw a ball tipped and intercepted by Carter, who also plays cornerback.
Springbrook junior defensive end Isaac Ukwu responded by intercepting Colby a minute later.
Junior quarterback Tyler Beckwith came into the game for the Blue Devils but Green intercepted his first pass at the one-yard line.
Even with the full length of the football field in front of him, Green quickly converted by opportunity on offense by running 99 yards untouched for his second touchdown with five minutes left in the game.
“I feel good about it but I could have done better,” said Green about his performance. “On the one fade he threw me I could have caught it, that would have been three [touchdowns] right there.”
The Blue Devils stayed in the game until the end, scoring once more on a short run by senior quarterback Demetrius Benjamin with two minutes left. For the second time, Blair’s defense came up strong during a Springbrook two-point conversation attempt and held the score at its 38-20 final.
“We made a lot of explosive plays. Usually the team that gets those big plays is the team that wins,” said Blair head coach Andrew Fields. “And turnovers, all year long we haven’t lost a turnover battle.”
This Friday, both teams are scheduled to play the role of underdog against undefeated teams. The Blazers play at Sherwood (6-0) while Springbrook hosts Paint Branch. (6-0).