Seneca Valley, long known as one of the most accomplished football programs in the state, sees its season-long struggles continue as the Screaming Eagles recorded their third straight loss, 32-12, to Watkins Mill in Montgomery Village Friday night.
The Wolverines (3-1) had never beaten the Screaming Eagles (1-3), nor had the Screaming Eagles ever suffered three consecutive losses. By contrast, last year’s meeting was a 42-14 rout for the Screaming Eagles.
“We’re underachieving. It’s horrific,” Seneca Valley Head Coach Fred Kim said. “It’s probably the worst start [to a season] in Seneca Valley history.”
The start of the game mirrored the start of the season for Seneca Valley, as its offense fizzled out and was forced to punt on all five of their first-half possessions.
Both teams were called for several penalties throughout the game. However, Seneca Valley’s offense easily had the lion’s share of illegal procedure and false start penalties, which has been a recurring problem in every game this season.
“I don’t understand why we have so many penalties,” Kim said. “I don’t get it. Those are drive-killers; it just destroys us.”
A short punt to the Screaming Eagles 29-yard line gave the Wolverines excellent field position for their opening possession in the first quarter. Senior quarterback Luke Elenga drove the Wolverines all the way down to the two-yard line, but sacks on second and fourth downs by the Screaming Eagle defense kept the Wolverines off the scoreboard midway through the first quarter.
Watkins Mill found more momentum a few possessions later in the early stages of the second quarter, as runs by Elenga and senior running back Anthony Rush moved the chains all the way to the Seneca Valley one-yard line. Elenga took it in himself the very next play for Watkins Mill’s first of five touchdowns of the game.
The Wolverines scored touchdowns on their next two drives, with the first coming courtesy of a 39-yard pass from Elenga to junior wide receiver David Vincent-Okoli. The second was capped off by an eight-yard scamper by Elenga for his second rushing touchdown of the night to give the Wolverines a 20-0 lead at halftime.
Watkins Mill took possession after the second half kickoff and picked up right where they had left off in the first half, as Elenga threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Demetrius Rush on their second play from scrimmage.
The Screaming Eagles were forced to punt again on their next possession, but they made a big defensive stop as they forced a turnover on downs for the Wolverines halfway through the third quarter.
The offense set up shop at their own 36-yard line and finally found their footing, advancing down the field until senior running back Prince Rush found the end zone on a 14-yard run to end the potential shutout.
“We were a little surprised that they fought all the way at the end and showed enthusiasm, and they didn’t give up,” Kim said. “That’s hard for 15, 16, 17-year old kids when they’re getting beat up on, they’re losing a game, to fight all the way till the end.”
Seneca Valley’s defense stepped up to force a punt on Watkins Mill’s next drive at the end of the third quarter, but the offense couldn’t convert a fourth down near midfield and surrendered the ball.
The Wolverines capitalized and Elenga once again found Demetrius Rush on a 21-yard touchdown pass to take a 32-6 lead with just over eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
Elijah Redman-Jesse returned Watkins Mill’s following kickoff all the way to the Watkins Mill 37-yard line, but another turnover on downs stopped Seneca Valley’s offense in its tracks. The Eagles’ defense forced another punt to give its offense another shot at the end zone.
Sophomore quarterback Don Coleman, sophomore running back Alex Holmes and junior running back Jonathan Brokenborough drove the Screaming Eagles deep in Wolverines territory. Coleman left the game with an apparent leg injury with under three minutes left to play, but the offense kept moving until senior tight end John Lindsay scored on a three-yard run.
“They’re not able to practice at the level in which we need to practice at in order to win,” Kim said. “We have very lethargic practices and we need to do a better job preparing. That’s why I’m telling the kids [if] you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.”
Seneca Valley hopes to snap their three-game losing streak next week against the Blake Bengals (3-1), who have won their last three games by a combined score of 110-6. Blake dismantled Poolesville on Friday 42-6. Game time at Blake is scheduled for 6:30 pm on Friday, Sept. 28.
Top: Watkins Mill senior Anthony Rush (3) smothers Seneca Valley’s running back during Friday’s first ever victory by the Wolverines over the Screamin’ Eagles.
Next: Watkins Mill’s senior quarterback Luke Elenga (5) stands tall in the pocket looking for a receiver during Friday’s victory.
Next: Seneca Valley’s junior running back Jonathan Brokenborough (26) finds some open space during Friday’s game.
Next: Seneca Valley’s senior defender Ryan Carroll makes a tackle during Friday night’s game.
Photos by Billy Owens for Germantown Pulse