BETHESDA – In a homecoming rivalry matchup, it was running back Jalen Hampton of Georgetown Prep who made the difference against the Landon School in a 14-7 win on Oct. 19.
The offense went through Hampton, the focal point of the run-heavy Georgetown Prep playing style that saw most of the handoffs happen between quarterback Will Angrick and Hampton. Hampton constantly assaulted Landon’s defense, as their strategy from the get-go was to stop the senior.
“The offense goes through Jalen,” said Landon Head Coach Paul Padalino. “The key was to make sure he didn’t get them rolling, and we played pretty well for three-and-a-half quarters, and we kind of lost our steam a little bit at the end of the game there, and he got on a bit of a roll, and he’s a hard guy to stop once he gets rolling.”
For the first three quarters, Landon was effective in its strategy. Except for a few bursts, Hampton was muted in his advances.
The passing game was a non-factor, though Landon’s defensive line was facing a persistent ground game that eventually tired them out.
“For us, we knew it was a four-quarter game. We’ve been in this game for many, many years…every game, it’s hard-fought,” said Georgetown Prep Head Coach Dan Paro.
Close calls and missed chances also defined the game. Defenses on both sides were stubborn and made up for offenses that preferred to grind it out on safe plays than take risks.
In one of the first scoring opportunities in the first quarter, a Landon fumble gave Georgetown Prep possession at Landon’s 19-yard line, a precarious situation that all but secured the Little Hoyas their first touchdown and an early lead.
The Little Hoyas were unable to score a touchdown in six plays and ended up going for the field goal four yards out on fourth down in the second quarter. They held onto possession as the first quarter ended. Kicker Finbar Lindsay went for the kick, but the Landon defense blocked it, surprising the audience with a botched field goal at such a close range.
Later in the second quarter, Georgetown Prep fumbled at their 23-yard line only for Landon to recover, but they turned it over on downs after minute gains and two incomplete passes.
Landon then struck first in the third quarter, opening with a touchdown on the first drive. Quarterback Kino Lilly handed it off to running back DeAngelo Dickerson for the touchdown. Coupled with a successful extra point, the Bears now led by seven points.
The Bears’ defense held firm for the remainder of the third quarter, heading into the fourth with a thin lead.
The defense that held down Hampton for three quarters just needed to stay consistent through the fourth to get the win. Meanwhile, Georgetown Prep needed to find a way to score to at least bring the game to overtime, if not win it outright.
“We all knew it was going to be like this when we came in the game,” said Hampton.
On their first drive of the fourth quarter, Georgetown Prep showed what happens if Hampton is left unguarded. As Angrick’s primary target, Hampton was able to whittle down the Landon defense until the Little Hoyas were in the red zone, where he was able to follow up with their first touchdown and an extra point by Lindsay.
The next Georgetown Prep drive had Hampton take all of the handoffs, save for an incomplete pass. A 52-yard run by Hampton took his team from their 34-yard line to Landon’s 14-yard line, and a few plays later, he scored his second touchdown of the day on a seven-yard run. Lindsay made the extra point attempt to double up the Little Hoyas’ lead.
With less than two minutes left on the clock, Landon was in dire-but, not impossible-straits. An interception cut their hopes short, and Georgetown Prep ran the clock down to cement their comeback win.
“We got off to a rough start, in the beginning, plays didn’t go our way, but we rallied the troops in the fourth quarter, and we were able to come out with the win,” said Angrick.
The win also earned the Little Hoyas the Davis-Fegan Cup, named after retired coaches Lowell Davis and Jim Fegan of Landon and Georgetown Prep, respectively.