By Brandy L. Simms
SILVER SPRING — Friday was Senior Night at Blake High School and the Bengals did not disappoint their fans.
Max Tempchin, a senior defensive end and fullback who earned second team All-Sentinel honors last season, registered seven sacks and scored on a two-yard run to lead Blake to a 47-8 victory over the visiting Rockville Rams.
“Max has been a great player for us since he was a freshman,” Blake head coach DeShawn Anderson said afterward. “He has the school record in like three categories.”
The Bengals offense scored four touchdowns in the first half and the defense capitalized on a turnover en route to a 34-0 halftime advantage.
Blake scored on a 45-yard run by Vernon Batson Jr. and got one-yard touchdown runs from running back Alden Switzer and quarterback Brendan LeJeune in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, LeJeune connected with EL’Jhon Ward on a 10-yard touchdown and defensive back Yahri Shango returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown with 4:50 remaining in the period.
Batson, who began his high school football career in Howard County, finished with a career-high 267 yards on 10 carries.
“It was exciting to give Vernon the opportunity to just get his groove,” said Anderson. “He’s healthy now so it was an opportunity for us to give him the ball and give him a bunch of carries so that’s exciting. He ran the ball really well.”
The Blake offensive linemen including Brian Hannibal, William Boyd, Igor Torrezan and Christian Piedrahita have been a key to the team’s success according to the head coach.
“We’ve got a good group up there,” said Anderson. “They’ve been doing great all season.”
Meanwhile, Rockville (3-5) avoided the shutout loss by scoring on a long touchdown pass from quarterback Dylan Monday to running back Jaylen Lawrence late in the third quarter. Monday ran in the two-point conversion moments later.
Anderson, in his fourth season at the helm, has turned the program around. Blake won just two games during Anderson’s first season but has made playoff appearances in each season since.
Tempchin, a four-year varsity player, said he bought into Anderson’s system during his freshman campaign which also coincided with Anderson’s first season at Blake.
“I was a little iffy about playing football because it was a bad program,” admitted Tempchin, “but he’s turned it around. He’s getting everyone to buy into the process and everyone’s loving it. Everyone’s supporting us. Everyone is coming out to the games now. You did not see this four years ago.”
Anderson, who was an assistant at Clarksburg under Larry Hurd Jr. before he was named the head coach at Blake, has become the program’s most successful head coach in school history.
“Everyone is behind us,” said Tempchin. “Everyone is excited for the football team. Everyone is coming out to the games. It’s a great atmosphere at school.”
Rockville is scheduled to host crosstown rival Richard Montgomery on Friday and travel to Einstein in the regular season finale.
Blake, who improved to 6-2, has remaining road games against Paint Branch and Watkins Mill.
“We’re still in the playoff hunt,” said Anderson, who guided the Bengals to an overall 7-4 record last season. “We definitely need to make sure we take care of business on our side in the 3A West [Region]. Right now we’re one of six teams competing for four spots right now so we’ll see what happens the rest of the season.”