ROCKVILLE — So far, the 2018 Montgomery County High School football season has been full of blowouts. However, there were some exceptions, like Friday night’s matchup between the visiting Sherwood Warriors (2-2) and the home team Richard Montgomery Rockets (2-2).
Sherwood came into the contest with blowout wins over Magruder and Einstein, and figured its away game in Rockville would also be easy. Not so fast; the Rockets came to play as they upset the Warriors 21-20.
RM got off to a rocky start, though, as senior quarterback Michael Braswell’s pass was intercepted by Sherwood senior wide receiver/defensive back Mitchell West, who returned the pick 22 yards for a touchdown to give the visitors a 7-0 lead early in the first.
“That pick was kind of heartbreaking,” said Braswell. “But Coach always told me that you’re always going to make mistakes, but you’ve got to bounce back.”
However, the Rockets’ defense stepped up as well when Warriors junior running back Dylan Grant coughed up the ball, which was picked up by senior defensive back Ellis Deng, who returned it 35 yards all the way to the end zone to tie the game up at 7-7.
Just before the defense-filled quarter ended, Sherwood’s offense got a spark when West took the handoff and raced 74 yards past defenders for the go-ahead touchdown and the 14-7 lead.
Late in the half, a 75-yard Rockets drive, which included an impressive catch by senior wide receiver Todd Thoman near the sideline, resulted in Braswell’s scoring on a four-yard keeper to tie the game up at 14-14.
In the fourth quarter, Sherwood was already inside the red zone, and Grant was able score from six yards out to give his team a 20-14 lead. However, the extra-point attempt went wide right, keeping the score at 20, which would prove costly.
Richard Montgomery caught some lucky breaks on their ensuing possession, which lasted almost nine minutes. On fourth down near midfield, Braswell tried scrambling for the first down when he appeared to have been tackled short. However, the chain gang showed that he picked up the first down after all.
Then, the game seemed to have been over on an incomplete pass on another fourth down play, but a pass interference penalty on the Warriors kept the Rockets alive.
The drive resulted in Braswell’s hooking up Thoman in the corner of the end zone for the game-tying touchdown and the successful extra point, to give RM the 21-20 lead with over two minutes left in the game.
“Having that kicker miss that field goal was a great opportunity, and we took advantage of it and scored,” Braswell said.
Sherwood was able to drive into Rockets’ territory on their next possession, but while scrambling for the first down on the fourth and 12, junior quarterback Michael Murphy was tackled short of the first down, sealing the upset for Richard Montgomery.
“I’m just really proud of our kids,” said RM Rockets head coach Josh Klotz. “I told them I was really proud of them at halftime, their effort in the first half, even prouder in the third quarter, and obviously the way that they came together and finished that game.”
Sherwood head coach Tom Crowell said a major factor in the loss was the absence of senior running back Andrew Comeau, due to an ankle injury.
“We just made more mistakes than they did,” Crowell said. “The breaks just didn’t go our way tonight.”
Next week, the Rockets will host the Walter Johnson Wildcats on Sept. 28, at 7 p.m., while the Warriors will visit the Wheaton Knights on Sept. 29, at 2 p.m.