SILVER SPRING — The Watkins Mill Wolverines knew just what they needed to do: come into Bengal Field Friday, ruin Blake’s Senior Night, close out the regular season with a win and hope for a playoff berth.
The scrappy Wolverines took advantage of a stalled Blake offense and sent the Bengals into the postseason with a 20-13 loss.
In fact, the Blake offense didn’t score until the third quarter as the Watkins Mill defense forced a first half shutout.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines got on the board on their first possession when Watkins Mill senior quarterback Markel Grant connected with wide receiver Demetrius Rush on a fourth-and-goal at the three-yard line.
Grant scrambled backwards as Blake defenders began to close in on him. It appeared as though the play was going nowhere until Grant threaded the needle and Rush went to the ground for the first touchdown of the game.
However, the extra point attempt failed.
Even though Blake senior receiver Carleton Thomas broke away from the Watkins Mill defense several times, his efforts didn’t show on the scoreboard in the first half.
Untimely penalties ended a handful of drives for both teams. The Wolverines appeared undeterred, especially after Grant’s one-yard quarterback sneak extended their lead heading into halftime.
The Bengals found the end zone a few minutes into the third quarter when Thomas’s efforts finally paid off with an 18-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was no good as the Watkins Mill defense smothered Blake quarterback Terrill Simms before he reached the goal line.
The momentum seemed to shift in Blake’s favor when senior running back Isaac Smith’s five-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter tied the game at 13 points apiece.
Grant answered on the next possession with another quarterback sneak for a score, this time from the two-yard line.
While the Blake offense did receive two more chances to possibly tie the game again, penalties and the Wolverines defense drove the Bengals backwards instead of forward.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Wolverines flooded onto the field to celebrate. One player even did a backflip in the end zone.
“It just feels good to finish the season on the high note,” said Watkins Mill head coach Mike Brown. “I’m just proud of how they kept their heads [in the game.] Their effort was tremendous, they were focused and they did their jobs.”
While the Wolverines’ playoff hopes still hinge on several other game outcomes, Friday’s victory puts Watkins Mill in the position to earn a fourth seed. If Watkins Mill does enter the postseason, it’ll likely face Westminster from Carroll County.
“We have the opportunity to make an upset and get another opportunity to move forward to our goal of winning states,” said Brown. “There’s nothing that Westminster has that we can’t deal with.”
Blake will likely end up with the third seed in the 3A/2A West region and will have to travel to Frederick to face Linganore next week.
While Bengals head coach DeShawn Anderson admits that his team was off its game for the second week in a row, he appeared excited about the prospect of facing Linganore in the first round of the postseason.
“It’s our second year going to the playoffs and we wanted this opportunity to compete for a championship and here it is,” said Anderson. “We’re excited about it. We’re going to regroup and prep and get ready to go. It’s going to be fun to go to Linganore.”