By Harry Lichtman
ROCKVILLE — Two 2-4 varsity football teams squared off Friday night, as the Rockville Rams (3-4) hosted the Magruder Colonels (2-5). Magruder struck first, but it was all Rockville after that, as the Rams won 32-6 in their homecoming game.
It wasn’t an easy start for Rockville, though, because on the opening kickoff, the ball was muffed and the Colonels recovered in good field position, leading to sophomore quarterback Jordan Peterwas scoring on an 11-yard keeper. The extra point was blocked, however, leaving Magruder ahead 6-0.
However, on the ensuing possession, the Rams found their groove as they drove down the field, and the drive concluded with junior quarterback Dylan Monday hooking up with senior running back Jaylen Lawrence in the back corner of the end zone for the 11-yard touchdown pass. The extra point gave Rockville a 7-6 lead, and they didn’t look back.
Monday found the end zone again late in the first quarter – this time on a four-yard quarterback sneak to extend the lead to 13-6.
For most of the second quarter, the Colonels had possession of the ball, thanks to a series of penalties and successful fourth-down conversions. However, they still went three-and-out and were forced to punt. The score remained 13-6 at halftime.
In the middle of the third quarter, a double-reverse pass pinned the Rams at the visitors’ 10-yard-line, leading to senior running back Antonio Villatoro taking it in from six yards out and increasing Rockville’s lead to 20-6.
After an interception by junior Marquez Piatt, the home team scored once again, when Monday scampered his way 40 yards to the end zone for the touchdown. The missed extra point kept the score at 26-6, with 7:55 left in the fourth quarter.
Monday, who normally plays a variety of positions, such as safety, corner, linebacker, quarterback, running back, and receiver, had been switched to quarterback a few weeks ago.
“He gives us that dynamic run threat,” said Rams head coach Jason Lomax. “Jaylen was playing his butt off, and so was Antonio Villatoro. They’re the heart and soul of our offense.”
Magruder drove down the field late in the game with a chance to score. However, senior quarterback Rashaud Claggett’s pass toward the end zone was intercepted by senior Colin Gabele, who returned the pick 98 yards to the house for the touchdown and the dagger.
“The second I caught that ball, I looked downfield,” Gabele said. “I was looking for blockers, and I scouted the pylon. I saw where it was and I made sure I got there, and my teammates helped me out because they had the blocks for me.”
But the pick-six wasn’t the only memorable play made by Gabele. Towards the end of the third quarter, Gabele channeled his inner Sean Taylor when he laid out a big hit on Claggett as he was stopped short of the first down on fourth-and-11.
“On that play, it was a broken play, and I really don’t think he saw me coming,” said Gabele. “The second I saw him not looking at me, I just decided to go in full steam.”
The Rams defense looked stellar, overall, as they also made some other impressive stops, including pass deflections and that interception by Piatt.
One player on the Colonels offense who looked impressive was junior tailback Zolu Barkley, who made some nice runs throughout the game.
“Zolu played hard,” said Magruder head coach Raymond Fowle II. “He was in the spot with injuries, and he ran the ball well.”
After winning two games in a row, Rockville will look to make it three when they face the Blake Bengals on the road, Oct. 19, at 6:30 p.m., while the Colonels will attempt to bounce back when they host the Springbrook Blue Devils same day, same time.