ROCKVILLE—The Blake High School football team has had a solid start at 3-1, with wins against Poolesville, Sherwood and Kennedy, and a loss against Watkins Mill. On Oct. 4, the Bengals faced off against Magruder High School, who were looking to avoid falling into a three-game losing streak and win at home during Homecoming.
While the majority of the game was filled with struggling offensive plays, the final three minutes led to an exciting end in favor of the road team. Blake (4-1) pulled away with an important 14-7 victory over the Colonels. It is the Bengals’ second consecutive win of the season.
The turning point of the game came late in the fourth quarter when Blake wide receiver Cyrus Wilson, stepped in at quarterback for injured senior Isaiah Smith with under two minutes remaining. In his first drive, Wilson completed a couple of passes, including one that resulted in a late hit call against Magruder, and several running plays to put his team in scoring position.
On a third and three play from the 8-yard line, Wilson tossed a swing pass to senior wide receiver Dylan Brown, who dodged several tacklers before he found his way into the end zone for the go-ahead score with under 30 seconds remaining. The Bengals converted the two-conversion to make a seven-point lead.
“It was on a key pass,” said Brown. “I got scored on the last play, so I was thinking I had to go and make up for that. So I was thinking I’ve got to score right here. That’s what I did.”
“Cyrus did a great job,” Bengals Head Coach DeShawn Anderson said. “He managed the game really well. He made some great throws, great reads. He’s a senior, so he’s one of our leaders.”
The last-minute scoring drive made up for an uneventful first half that featured several turnovers, defensive stops, dropped passes, flags, failed fourth-down conversions and one touchdown.
The lone score came from Blake in the middle of the first quarter, when senior running back Sabionn Adams took the handoff into the end zone from two yards out for the touchdown, though the blocked extra point kept the score at 6-0.
“He’s one of the best running backs in the county,” said Anderson. “We’ve got to get him rolling. He had a slow start to this season, but he’s running really well right now, so we’re going to feed him the ball more.”
In the second quarter, Magruder (2-3) saw a chance to put points on the board, as junior quarterback Jordan Peterwas drove his team downfield to the 10-yard line. However, the Colonels were unable to get in the end zone, despite a pass interference call on the Bengals on 4th and goal. Despite the extra play, Peterwas’ quarterback sneak attempt fell short of the goal line, turning the ball over on downs.
The defensive stops continued throughout the second half while Blake maintained its 7-0 lead until the final three minutes. The Blake defense helped when it forced three turnovers, including an interception and two fumble recoveries.
Later in the fourth quarter, on a third-down play, Peterwas found senior wide receiver Connor Rose for the 16-yard touchdown to put the Colonels up 7-6 with 2:03 left in the game.
That is when Blake put in Wilson at quarterback for the final drive. According to the senior, the team prepared him to be Smith’s backup this season in case of injury. Not only was Wilson able to lead the Bengals down the field to score, but he also left little time for Magruder to respond.
“That’s my brother,” Wilson said of Smith. “I knew when he went down, I had to step up. He actually went down last year, and I had to step in in the second half. But he’s been coaching me up all week, and our quarterbacks coach Jake Silverman; they really got me prepared tonight.”
Following Blake’s touchdown, Magruder ran only one play on the ensuing drive as they fumbled the ball during the snap, allowing the visitors to recover it. Fumbles were a problem for the Colonels all evening and it came back in the end to haunt them.
“A loss is a loss,” said Magruder Head Coach Raymond Fowle II. “Both teams fought until the very end. We drove down, scored with two minutes to go in the game and they drove right back. That’s what good teams do.”
Next week, the Bengals will look to build off their victory when they host Paint Branch High School on Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m., while the Colonels will visit Poolesville High School the same night at 7 p.m.