It wasn’t the start to the game that Clarksburg Bob Plante would have wanted. The Coyotes started the Battle of the ‘Burgs with a turnover deep in their own territory giving Gaithersburg an early opportunity to get an easy score. The Trojans were hungry for a win and came into the Canyon in Clarksburg hoping to get that win against a Coyotes team that has been as Coach Plante said after last week’s loss to Springbrook, “inconsistent.”
In the end, Clarksburg won the Battle of the ‘Burgs 28-14, but it required the Coyotes to dig deep and stay ClarksburgStrong.
The Trojans did capitalize on the turnover, scoring on a pass play to put the Coyotes in a 7-0 hole early in the game. However, Clarksburg would battle back.
“We turned the ball over early and is always difficult to fight back from,” said Plante via phone after the game, “but the kids put together a complete team win. I could point to different parts of that game, and it was a different kid that stepped up to make the play. The thing that gave me joy was that the kids didn’t back down. They were in there swinging and fighting. Gaithersburg would make a play, but we’d come back and make a stop.”
In the second quarter, Clarksburg would recover a fumble and get field position on the Gaithersburg 26 yard-line. The Coyotes’ quarterback Joey Perkins would connect with senior running back Elijah Maith on a 26-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.
Both teams would head into halftime knowing that turnovers had led the other team to put points on the board.
The Trojans took the second half kickoff and drove down to the Coyotes 29 yard line, but were stopped by a defensive effort.
“I love these kids and want them to be fighters,” said Plante. “There was time tonight that each one of them stepped up. They were fatigued, and maybe it was a third-and-short or a fourth-and-short situation, but there was a guy that made a play. It was always a different guy. It was a complete team victory.”
The Coyotes would score on their first drive of the second half. Perkins would find fellow senior Kory Fleming on a pass that moved Clarksburg to the Trojan 32 yard line. The Coyotes would take the air again as Perkins hit sophomore receiver Casey McKinney with a touchdown pass to take a 14-7 lead with 4:00 left in the third quarter.
The final stanza of the game would be dramatic. Gaithersburg would come back to tie the game early in the fourth quarter, and the teams would trade punts. The Coyotes would start on their own 25-yard line with just under 7:00 remaining in the game tied at 14.
Perkins would hit senior receiver Justice Williams on a pass that put the Coyotes inside the Trojan 20-yard line. Perkins would hook up with Williams again to get the ball to the two-yard line, and Maith would run the ball in for his second touchdown of the night.
“Joey did a great job late in the game to sell the bootleg,” said Plante. “We had a game plan which relied a lot on the boot game and working our tight ends to the call side. Korey Fleming had a couple of big plays on short passes, which opened up our deep game to Justice Williams that paid off. Our line gave Joey protection and allowed us to run a bit. Joey did a great job of selling the play-action to hold the linebackers.”
Clarksburg would seal the victory after junior defensive back Xavier Holmes snatched up a pass which was tipped giving the Coyotes the ball on the Trojan 25 yard line with 4:15 remaining. The Coyotes would eat a few minutes of clock with runs by Maith. Seconds later, the senior runner would score his third touchdown of the night to give the ‘Yotes the 28-14 victory.
Gaithersburg will continue to hunt for their first victory of the season as they host the 1-4 Wheaton Knights next Friday. Wheaton defeated Northwood back on Sept. 8. The Knights are coming off a 43-0 drubbing by Sherwood on Thursday.
While the Coyotes will face a much tougher test next week, as the unbeaten Damascus Swarmin’ Hornets will travel down Ridge Road to invade the Canyon next Friday. Damascus are the back-to-back 3A defending state champs. The Hornets are 46-1 since 2014 with the only loss in the 2014 3A State Championship game. Damascus is coming off a 42-0 shutout of Poolesville on Thursday.
Top: Clarksburg’s senior runner Elijah Maith (2) had three touchdowns in Thursday’s 28-14 victory in the Battle of the ‘Burgs.
Next: The Coyotes’ Ryan Johns (12) tackles Gaithersburg’s Noric Malgar (11).
Next: Sophomore Casey McKinney (19) grabs a Joey Perkins pass late in the game and takes in for a touchdown.
Next: Elijah Maith (2) dives for yards during Thursday's 28-14 victory.
Photos by Kim Grimes for Germantown Pulse.
Photos from this game are available at https://kimgrimes.smugmug.com/Sports