By Brandy L. Simms
DAMASCUS — The streak is over.
Damascus, who made history this season by setting a new national record, endured their first loss in four years.
Oakdale eliminated Damascus from the postseason Friday by registering a 24-7 victory over the Swarmin’ Hornets before an overflow crowd in the Maryland 2A West Region Final.
The victory snapped the Swarmin’ Hornets consecutive win streak at 53 games.
Damascus, who was seeking to capture the program’s fourth consecutive state championship, suffered their first loss since the 2014 Maryland 3A state title game.
The Swarmin’ Hornets, who finished the season at 11-1, recently set the state’s all-time winning streak record, surpassing Urbana who held the mark from 1998-2001.
“It’s just unreal,” said Oakdale senior quarterback Collin Schlee. “Coach [Kurt] Stein preached about it all summer and all year about how we were going to beat Damascus and now it’s finally here and I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Oakdale players and coaches celebrated on a muddy and soggy field following the win; Stein preached the significance of the Bears’ win during the postgame huddle.
“I’m so freaking proud of you, you have no idea,” said Stein. “But I do know this: can’t win 13 if you don’t win the first 11.”
Schlee, a two-sport star at the Frederick County school, was instrumental in the Bears’ road victory.
“Collin’s been our leader all year,” added Stein. “He makes the big plays when we need them. Even on this track where it was tough for us, we had a couple there where we needed them and he made them.”
Oakdale (12-0) rallied from a 7-0 deficit to capture the program’s first regional title.
Damascus scored on their opening possession by driving 71 yards on 18 plays capped by TD Ayo-Durojaye’s one-yard touchdown run.
However, the Bears answered in the second quarter by scoring on a safety and Schlee’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Blake Baxter with 4:04 remaining in the period.
Once again, Oakdale’s defense rose to the occasion, scoring moments later when junior safety Ethan Reifer forced a fumble by sacking Damascus quarterback Michael O’Neil. The fumble was recovered in the end zone by junior defensive lineman Ben Bevilacqua, giving the Bears a 16-7 advantage at intermission.
“I have faith in my defense,” said Schlee, a highly-regarded Division I prospect at quarterback. “Personally, I think they’re the best defense in the state.”
Throughout the game, Oakdale’s offensive line gave Schlee protection and opened holes for running back Simeon Sabvute; the junior scored on a three-yard run with 7:23 remaining in the fourth quarter and Oakdale completed the ensuing two-point conversion for the final margin of victory.
Oakdale’s offense neutralized Damascus defensive end Bryan Bresee, ranked among the nation’s top college prospects in the 2020 recruiting class.
Stein said the Bears prepared for Bresee and executed the game plan to slow him down to perfection.
“They recognized where he was, they made their calls and they did what they had to do,” said Stein. “He still made some plays. He’s a good player but I thought our kids did as good as possible against him.”