By Brandy L. Simms
DAMASCUS — The Damascus Swarmin’ Hornets varsity football team moved a step closer to capturing the program’s fourth consecutive state championship.
Damascus senior TD Ayo-Durojaiye rushed for three touchdowns Friday en route to a 42-3 victory over the Century Knights in a Maryland 2A West Region Semifinal game.
Damascus (11-0) captured the program’s 53rd consecutive win and will play host to Oakdale this weekend in the Maryland 2A West Region Final.
Century, the region’s No. 4 seed, was seeking to upset the reigning Maryland state champions but top-seeded Damascus proved to be too powerful.
“It’s a learning experience,” said Century head coach Todd Edmondson. “Hats off to Damascus and their players and their coaching staff because they’re a really good football team.”
Ayo-Durojaiye, a highly-touted college prospect, scored on runs of 22, one and 81 yards against Century. The Damascus senior had a field day against the Carroll County public school.
“We just played physical football,” said Ayo-Durojaiye, who finished with 161 yards rushing on 13 carries. “We won 42-3 but we still didn’t play perfect so we got to be perfect if we want to beat Oakdale [on Friday].”
Ayo-Durojaiye, who has played on the Damascus varsity since his freshman campaign, has earned scholarship offers from various college programs including Army, Air Force, Fordham, Dartmouth, Holy Cross, Rice and Towson among others.
“He’s what you want in a running back,” said Edmondson. “He’s a downhill runner, he keeps his feet moving and he runs hard. He doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s a good, solid running back.”
Ayo-Durojaiye has been a triple threat all season long for the Swarmin’ Hornets. He’s made an impact on the program’s offense, defense and special teams and Friday night was no different.
“I thought I played all right,” Ayo-Durojaiye admitted. “The offensive line blocked their tails off.”
The Damascus offensive line includes Ryan Linthicum, Elijah Baisden, Khalil Bowen, Adam Gleaton and Bryan Bresee.
“They’re solid up front,” said Edmondson, whose team finished the 2018 campaign at 6-5. “Got a good strong run game, and their defense is sound, and they’ve got some players.”
Linthicum, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound sophomore, has already received scholarship offers from Maryland, Michigan and Ohio State.
Bresee, a junior defensive end ranked among the nation’s top college prospects in the 2020 recruiting class, is a two-way standout and has earned scholarship offers from Alabama, Penn State, Notre Dame, Florida and USC among others.
“He’s a tough matchup,” said Edmondson. “Wherever we go, you run away from him, he pursues to the football. You run towards him, and obviously with his size and all, it’s a challenge. Hopefully he keeps his head straight; he’s got a bright future.”
Earlier this season, Ayo-Durojaiye scored via defense and special teams when he returned two punts for touchdowns and registered a pick-six in a 47-0 victory over Poolesville.
Meanwhile, Damascus quarterback Michael O’Neil scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak in the second quarter and running back Chris Shaw added a 40-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to help Damascus cruise to victory.
“Me and Chris,” added Ayo-Durojaiye, “We ran hard and you know that’s what happens when you have an offensive line that dominates like that so it was a fun game.”