Two early turnovers which resulted in Damascus touchdowns forced Seneca Valley to play from behind, on the road, against the defending state champs, and a team that hasn’t lost a regular-season game since 2013. The result was a 59-21 route by Damascus and Seneca Valley team now in need of help to make the playoffs.
The loss throws some doubt into Seneca Valley’s ability to make the postseason. Despite the 7-2 record, and one more game left to play. The Eagles are not eliminated yet, but will need to win next week at 3-6 Gaithersburg, and will still require help from Frederick County schools. If 6-3 Linganore loses to 2-7 Urbana, or 8-1 Tuscarora defeats 7-2 Oakdale, Seneca Valley should make the playoffs as a number four seed.
On Friday in Damascus Seneca Valley’s first possession of the game ended early as Adrian Feliz-Platt lost the handle on the ball as he was being tackled and the ball was scooped up by Damascus’ senior linebacker Cedric Cole who scrambled 46 yards to the endzone to put the Swarmin’ Hornets up 7-0 early in the match-up between 3A West rivals.
Seneca would come right back. After a kickoff return by Derell Becket-Simms which set the Screamin’ Eagles up on the Damascus 25-yard line, two runs by Platt moved the ball down to the 15-yard line. Senior quarterback Zach Robinson would find Harold Dotson in the corner of the endzone to even the score at 7-7.
It would take Damascus just to plays to take the lead back. The Hornet’s senior quarterback Wade Rippeon would hit Markus Vinson on 60-yard pass to set up 1st and goal from the eight-yard line. Senior Elijah Atkins would run the ball the eight yards to the endzone to score the first of his three touchdowns and extend the lead to 14-7.
On the following Seneca Valley possession, the Damascus defense would cement the lead for the Hornets. It would be Cedric Cole again, this time stepping in front of a Zach Robinson pass and returning it 50-yards for a pick-six. The Hornets second defensive score put the home team up 21-7 with 5:02 left in the first quarter. The Hornets never let up and never looked back.
On the next possession, the Damascus defense would come up big again and force a third turnover, this time after a 1st down reception. The fumble would give Damascus the ball in great field possession. The defending state champs wasted no time extending the lead, as Elijah Atkins ran for his second touchdown. He would finish with 100 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Damascus now led 28-7.
Damascus would further extend the lead to 35-7 with 9:35 remaining the half, on a 35-yard touchdown run by Markus Vinson. It was the first of three trips to the endzone for the senior running back. Vinson would rack up 208 yards on the ground.
Seneca Valley would score on a fourth-down play as quarterback Zack Robinson scrambled and found Harold Dotson on a short pass. Dotson would shake and bake his way for 25 yards and find the endzone to cut the lead to 35-14.
Vinson’s second touchdown came on the Hornet’s next possession to make the score 42-14. He ran the ball in from the one-yard line, which was set up by a 60-yard pass from Rippeon to Vinson. Vinson would another 29-yard touchdown run on a counter play right through the heart of the Seneca defense. The Hornets led 49-14.
Seneca’s Platt would score on ensuing drive, as he found some running room and rumbled for a 30-yard touchdown run to narrow the lead to 49-21. Platt would finish with 160 yards, carrying the ball 30 times. That would end the Seneca scoring.
Vinson would score his third and final touchdown with 56 seconds remaining in the first half, to send Damascus into the locker room with a 56-21 lead of Seneca Valley.
After halftime, the Eagles would lose two more fumbles, one leading to a Damascus field goal in the third quarter. It would be the only scoring in the second half and made the score 59-21.
Seneca Valley will travel to meet an old rival at Gaithersburg next week, in a game that the Eagles absolutely must win to have any hope of making the postseason. With the victory over Seneca, Damascus sets up another good game, as the 9-0 Hornets will travel to 8-1 Blair next week.
Top: Damascus senior Markus Vinson (16) ran for 208 yards and three touchdowns in the Hornets’ 59-21 victory over Seneca Valley on Friday night in Damascus.
Video: Damascus senior Cedric Cole (12) intercepts this Zach Robinson pass and runs 50 yards to put the Hornets up 14-7.
Next: Damascus senior Elijah Atkins scored three touchdowns on Friday night. This run was his first.
Next: Seneca Valley’s Adrian Feliz-Platt (7) scored on this 30-yard touchdown run.
Video: This catch and run by Harold Dotson (11) cut the Damascus lead to 35-14.
Next: Seneca Valley’s senior quarterback
Zach Robinson (5) threw two touchdown passes to Harold Dotson in the first quarter.
Video: Platt’s 30-yard touchdown run.
Photos and video by Germantown Pulse.