Sometimes it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.
In their varsity football season opener played at Gaithersburg High School, the Seneca Valley Screaming Eagles started slow but finished strong as they powered to a 34-10 victory over visiting Rockville Saturday morning.
The game began Friday evening, but was postponed at halftime due to lightning in the area. Play resumed at the beginning of the second half Saturday morning.
“Rockville was fighting us,” said Head Coach Fred Kim. “They were a little more energized last night, they were a little flatter this morning, and I think that was the difference.”
The Screaming Eagles took an early 7-0 lead last night as running back Alex Holmes found the end zone early in the first quarter.
The Rams quickly responded, as they rushed their way to an equalizing touchdown midway through the quarter. Both teams then exchanged three-and-outs and punts for the rest of the first quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, Holmes scored his second rushing touchdown of the game to give Seneca Valley a 14-7 lead heading into halftime.
“It was a slugfest first half,” Kim said. “They were coming after us and it was a tight game.”
When the second half began Saturday morning, Rockville was the first to get on the scoreboard as Eric Giron split the uprights to cut Seneca Valley’s lead to 14-10.
The Screaming Eagles’ offense came alive toward the end of the third quarter. Facing fourth-and-one deep in Rockville territory, quarterback Don Coleman slipped past the defense to score the team’s third touchdown of the game.
Less than a minute later on Rockville’s next drive, linebacker Zach Cason intercepted a pass from Rockville’s Cole Fairchild to get Seneca Valley’s offense back on the field in scoring position.
The Screaming Eagles didn’t score on that drive, but quickly forced the Rams to turnover on downs early in the fourth quarter. They immediately capitalized, as Coleman connected with wide receiver Mazae Blake to push their lead to 26-10.
Rockville once again turned over on downs. Seneca Valley once again cashed in on the defensive stop, as Coleman snuck into the end zone with just under three minutes remaining.
On the two-point conversion attempt, Coleman found wide receiver Shy’yon Frazier alone in the end zone to further the Screaming Eagles’ lead to 34-10.
“We got some nice size up in [our offensive line],” Kim said. “I think if you pound [the defense] enough, which is what we wanted to wear them down a little bit, a couple of their guys were going both ways and that eventually caught up.”
Seneca Valley may have opened its 2018 season with a relatively comfortable win, but Kim knows the team has a lot of work to do moving forward, especially in limiting penalties.
“We were lucky and very fortunate to come away with the win with that many penalties,” he said. “There’s no way we should have won with that many penalties. But fortunately, our kids stepped up when they had to; they made plays when they had to.”
The Screaming Eagles look to continue their winning ways as they travel for a “Road Game” to face the Gaithersburg Trojans at John Harvill Stadium at Gaithersburg High School next week. The Trojans lost their opener to Einstein, 17-7 this week. Game time is scheduled for 6:30 pm on Friday.
Top: Seneca Valley’s senior running back Prince Rush (27) hits the hole in Saturday morning’s continuation of the Eagles’ season opener.
Next: Seneca Valley’s sophomore quarterback Don Coleman (11) runs the ball.
Next: The Screamin’ Eagles defense kept Rockville’s quarterback Cole Fairchild (10) under pressure. Seneca’s junior defensive end Elijah Hyson (25) applies the pressure.
Next: Michael Bikai Bassi (6) Seneca Valley’s senior starting quarterback does he pre-snap reads of the Rockville defense.
Photos by Billy Owens for Germantown Pulse.