POOLESVILLE – A close 13-7 contest in the second quarter turned into a 42-20 Seneca Valley blow out against host Poolesville Friday night on opening day of the varsity football season.
Seneca Valley senior running backs Adrian Feliz-Platt and Darius Golston both rushed for two touchdowns while senior quarterback Zack Robinson twice connected with junior wide receiver Harold Dotson for another two scores.
“It was just, at any moment, these guys could just bust one,” said Seneca Valley head coach Fred Kim about his running backs. “It was like thunder and lightning with Darius and Adrian.”
According to Poolesville quarterback Daniel Cho, the Seneca Valley running backs are “just a great combo,” supplying power in Golston and speed in Feliz-Platt.
“Those kids are studs. They’re going to be tough to stop,” added Poolesville senior Colin Fisher, who scored the final touchdown for the Falcons in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons’ most consistent counter to Seneca’s dynamic duo came from junior running back Connell Oberman, making his varsity debut as a starter.
Oberman scored the home team’s only touchdown of the first three quarters, running behind junior offensive lineman Ryan Kasten on a pitch to the right before cutting back inside and diving over the goal line.
“We have a good running attack but we need to build on all aspects of the game,” said Poolesville head coach Dave Murray, now in his sixth season overall with the Falcons and second as the team’s leader.
Murray described the Screaming Eagles of Germantown as a “really, really good” team and explained that to counter their “phenomenal athletes,” his players needed to play disciplined, mistake-free football for all four quarters.
That didn’t happen.
Poolesville blunted its own momentum repeatedly with penalties, miscues and blown defensive assignments, particularly against Seneca Valley senior Lance Wilson.
Immediately after Oberman’s touchdown with 4:36 left in the second quarter, the senior kickoff returner Wilson brought the ball back 55 yards, setting up Golston for a 28-yard standing touchdown run one play later.
A two-point conversation pass from Robinson to Dotson put Seneca Valley up 21-7.
On Poolesville’s next drive on a second-and-nine pass from midfield, Wilson snatched the ball on a pass from Cho and ran out of bounds at the Seneca Valley 41-yard-line.
It marked the second time in as many drives he blunted the home team’s progress.
“That was the momentum changer,” Kim said about the interception.
The turning point of the game came in the final minute of the second quarter.
With Seneca Valley holding a 21-7 lead after Golston’s second touchdown and Wilson’s interception, a pass interference call against Poolesville set up the Screaming Eagles’ offense at the Falcons’ 25-yard-line.
Dotson later ran a slant pattern from the right side of the field toward the center and Robinson fired the ball to him as he stepped across the plane untouched with 53 seconds remaining before halftime.
That’s when Poolesville’s mistakes compounded.
During the next kickoff, a loose ball picked up at the 10-yard-line by Poolesville put the Falcons with their backs against their own goal line while Seneca Valley had two time outs left to burn.
Kim’s defense swarmed Cho at the one-yard-line for a sack and an incomplete pass stopped the clock with 30 seconds remaining in the half.
A 19-yard punt out at the 20-yard-line automatically put the Screaming Eagles in the red zone.
Two players later, Robinson aired out a jump ball along the right sideline.
Poolesville junior defensive back Jack Tyler readied himself to leap for the possible INT, turning his back to the wide receiver Dotson.
However, Dotson jumped up and shot his hands down above Tyler’s shoulder pads, plucking the ball out from over top the defender.
Dotson landed in the end zone with two feet on the ground and the ball in his hands, sealing the visiting team’s 35-7 advantage just 15 seconds before halftime.
“We had great field position and we were able to execute,” said Kim.
In total, the visiting Screaming Eagles scored three unanswered touchdowns in the last five minutes of the first half, eventually earning a continuous clock in the third quarter on a 31-yard touchdown run from Feliz-Platt through the right side of the field.
Seneca Valley’s rushing game produced four of the team’s six touchdowns while Poolesville’s came in three different ways.
Oberman scored the Falcons’ only touchdown of the first three quarters before senior Michael McDonald picked up a loose ball on a punt blocked by junior Gage Wolitzky deep in Seneca Valley territory, to end the continuous clock with 7:12 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Like Seneca Valley did during the first half, Poolesville managed to squeeze out a touchdown with 15 seconds left in regulation.
Fisher hauled in a pass from scrambling sophomore back-up quarterback Ethan Gaddis, a left hander who ran toward the Poolesville sideline as he slung it into the end zone.
“They’re a different football team,” said Kim about Poolesville, a group his squad beat 41-13 on opening day last season.
According to Murray, the first part of the game showed his team can hang with a high-profile opponent, though the scoring runs by Seneca Valley also showed the Falcons they still need to work hard to improve.
“We can play with teams that are bigger and faster than us,” said Murray, later adding, “But these guys, I really feel like we’re teetering on being one of those great teams.”