The Seneca Valley High School football program has seen some amazing success over the years, but even the greatest sports programs experience peaks and valleys and the 2018 season sees the Eagles flying low through a valley.
The Screamin’ Eagles hosted Magruder at Gaithersburg High School and lost 26-14 in a game between two mediocre football teams which each came into the game with one win. While the Colonels scored more points and beat Seneca Valley for the second straight season, it is hard to look at either team’s performance and think it was a success.
Both teams played football through a rain of yellow flags, for non-football penalties. It seemed the only real competition was to see which team could out trash-talk the other, which led to numerous unsportsmen-like behavior penalties for both teams.
“Our kids have a real hard time controlling their emotions,” said Seneca Valley Head Coach Fred Kim. “We saw this going back to Spring 7-on-7 games. They can’t control their emotions to shut their mouths, turn around, and just go play football.” He said that the coaching staff has been working hard with the team since the Spring 7-on-7 games to keep the emotions in check during games. “We work so hard to try to keep our cool under extreme duress. We’ve done things in practice where they’ve shown that they could do it. We’ve pushed them hard in conditioning, they would mess up, and they would have to keep doing the workout, as our coaches worked to improve our team’s mental strength. Our kids have done well, but when it comes to games… we can’t keep a lid on it.”
In the first quarter, the Eagles were driving and sophomore running back Alex Holmes sprung for a long gain but was stripped of the ball by Magruder’s junior Jeremiah Baxter at the seven-yard-line. The ball was recovered by the Colonels to stop the Seneca scoring threat.
After a scoreless first quarter, which saw both teams trade possessions with moderate offensive success, Magruder opened the scoring with a drive that was capped off with a 10-yard touchdown run by Baxter to put the Colonels up 6-0.
Magruder would extend the lead to 12-0 on a short pass from quarterback Jordan Peterwas to junior running back Mason David with just 24 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Colonels would take the kick to start the second half, and Baxter would sprint up the middle for his second touchdown of the game to put Magruder up 18-0 in the third quarter.
The Eagles would get on the board with 10:15 left in the fourth, on a pass from junior quarterback Ryan Carroll, which was tipped by the Magruder defense but fell into the waiting hands of sophomore receiver Theman Frazer who fell into the endzone to cut the lead to 18-6.
After an insurance touchdown from Magruder, Seneca Valley worked the ball down inside the Colonels’ five-yard line on a pass from Carroll to Frazer. The Eagles scored on a run by junior running back John Brokenborough which capped the scoring at 26-12.
“It wasn’t like we weren’t in the game,” said Kim. “The first quarter was solid, and then, we fumbled, and everything completely fell apart. We were driving and had the miscue, and after that, we fell to pieces. I have to figure out why that occurs with our kids, who are extremely emotional.”
The Colonels improve to 2-4 this season and travel to face 2-4 Rockville next week. The Eagles fall to 1-5 on the season and will “host” 2-4 Poolesville on Thursday night, Oct. 11 at Gaithersburg High School. The game is scheduled for 7:00 pm. The Poolesville Falcons are coming off a 42-14 road loss to Rockville on Friday.
Top: Seneca Valley’s junior running back John Brokenborough (26) looks for daylight during Friday’s 26-12 loss to Magruder.
Video: Magruder’s Jerimiah Baxter (6) scores from 10-yards out to give the Colonels an early lead.
Next: The Colonels Mason David (5) finds some daylight during Friday’s victory over Seneca Valley.
Video: Seneca Valley scores on this pass from Ryan Carroll to Theman Frazer after a defender tipped it.
Photos by Germantown Pulse