The opening kickoff set the tone for the entire game for Seneca Valley. Damascus won the coin flip and deferred opting to get the ball in the second half. The kick was short and instead of going deep to one of the return men it was handled, or mishandled by an up-back. While Seneca Valley was able to recover the fumble, it was a harbinger of things to come.
A game in which Seneca Valley hoped for redemption ended with a blowout 45-3 loss to a bitter rival. Damascus’ superstar senior running back Jake Funk would go on a tear and score four touchdowns to advance the Swarmin’ Hornets to the Maryland State Semi-Final game next week.
The Screaming Eagles had a difficult time handling on the ball all night long. There were muffed kickoff returns, bad snaps, bad handoffs, passes that should have been caught but fell to the ground. It was, as Head Coach Fred Kim said after the game, “really frustrating.”
“For whatever reason we just couldn’t execute,” said Kim, who team finishes the 2015 season with a record of 11-2, with both losses at the hands of Damascus. “We thought we were in a position to make some plays. We just couldn’t execute for whatever reason. The ball just didn’t roll our way. We were mishandling snaps or mishandling the ball, or not completing the pass.”
For Damascus, it was a game in which everything went right. The Hornet defense contained the Seneca Valley offense and allowed Funk and the offense to operate from a short field for most of the game.
The mishaps put Seneca Valley in poor field position all game or left Damascus in great field position.
Seneca was forced to punt on their opening drive. Damascus took six plays to find the end zone on an off-tackle run to Markus Vinson from the four-yard line. The Hornets were up 7-0.
Both teams would trade punts. It would be a long run by Vinson to the Seneca Valley four-yard line that would set up Funk’s first touchdown. On the next play, an inside handoff to Funk would put the Hornets up 14-0.
Damascus would get the ball right back on after a Seneca Valley fumble. The Hornets would have first-and-ten from the Seneca Valley 23 yard line. Damascus quarterback Julian Kinard would hand to ball to Funk, who would dance and dodge his way into the end zone for his second touchdown in 20 seconds. Hornets lead 21-0.
Funk and Vinson would combine for 288 yards rushing.
Seneca was without the services Adrian Feliz-Platt as the junior suffered a hamstring injury in the second quarter, which greatly affected the Screaming Eagles game plan.
“He popped his hamstring, and it really caused us to scramble,” said Kim. “He is such a big part of this team not only on offense but, defensively and on special teams. That really played a significant factor for us and we had to readjust on the fly.”
After forcing Seneca to a three-and-out in the second quarter, Vinson scored his second touchdown of the game as he broke an off-tackle run into the secondary to extend the lead to 28-0.
Both teams would trade punts, and Seneca Valley would start at their own 11-yard line. The drive would be highlighted by two long runs by Darius Golston, but would end with the Screaming Eagles settling for a field goal to cut the lead to 28-3.
On the next possession, Funk would score his third touchdown. A spirit-breaking 74-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 35-3. Damascus would tack on a field goal just before halftime to take a 38-3 lead into the locker room.
“We kind of allowed the game to get out of hand so early,” said Kim. “We let our guard down, and it’s a snowball effect and we let it get out of control, unfortunately.”
Seneca Valley would come out and attempt to change momentum with an onside kick, but once again the ball would not roll the Eagles' way and Damascus would recover and get great field position to start the second half.
However, Seneca Valley’s defense would intercept a Kinard pass at the two-yard line, but the Screaming Eagles could not move the ball against the Damascus defense and would punt the ball from their own end zone. The punt would not be a good one, and Funk and the Hornets would take possession at the Seneca 13-yard line.
Three plays later, Funk would walk into the end zone from the four-yard line for his fourth touchdown of the night. “This game means a lot to me,” said Funk after the game. “This is my last time playing Seneca Valley and to go out like that it means a lot to me. We came out tonight, and we were on fire the whole game.”
Seneca Valley ends its season at 11-2. “I am proud of this team,” said Kim. “We worked awfully hard in this offseason. The kids worked their butts off this offseason, and it showed. We beat a very good Linganore team and very good Northwest team, but we just, unfortunately, couldn’t beat Damascus.”
Damascus will host the winner of Saturday’s 3A South match between Wheaton and Potomac next Friday in the Maryland State Semi-Finals.
Top: Damascus’ Jake Funk (34) ran for four touchdowns in Friday’s playoff victory over Seneca Valley.
Next: Swarmin’ Hornets Markus Vinson (16) falls into the end zone for the first of his two touchdowns in Friday night’s playoff victory.
Next: Funk scores his third touchdown of the game in the second quarter.
Next: With Adrian Feliz-Platt injured Seneca Valley turned to Donovan Beckett-Sims (6) to help get the offense moving.
Video: Seneca's Darius Golston breaks a long run.
Next: Seneca Valley’s junior running back Darius Golston had the Eagles to biggest plays from scrimmage during a drive in the second quarter that ended in a field goal.
Photos by Germantown Pulse