Damascus wins 8th title, Funk scores 7 Touchdowns.
25 carries, 211 yards, and 5 touchdowns.
That was Jake Funk stat line at the end of the first half, scoring every touch down for the Hornets' 41-8 lead, eventually capturing their 8th state title in school history, defeating the Dundalk Owls 55-14 in a one-sided affair.
Funk's final stat line with with 289 total yards, 270 on the ground, with 7 total touchdowns, making his season total of 57 touchdowns, smashing the previous state of record of 49 held by Rob Chesson of Old Mill in 2011.
“It's kind of a perfect marriage between [Jake] and the offensive line,” head coach Eric Wallich said about the play of the offensive line. “He means a lot to this team but he is just one part of the team. With a back like that, you try to feed as much as you can and try to have some pieces to counter whatever teams do to try to stop him.”
The only other pieces the Swarming Hornets needed to trump the Owls was a stifling defense. The Owls fumbled the ball four times, while only converting 4 of 12 third downs. It was a rough outing for the Owls offensively, just a week after scoring 40 points against Potomac in the 3A semi-finals.
With much of the attention around Funk, Damascus defense was overlooked as being a very talented group. The defense only allowed 9 points per game and only seen one team score 21 points on them, Oakdale in the opening round of the playoffs.
“Our defense has played outstanding the whole year,” Wallich said “Even games where we sputtered, the defense has really been lights out the whole year. Daquan Grimes is the quarterback of our defense and has been playing at an All-Met level, I haven't seen anyone on defense play better than him.”
Grimes led the team with 6 tackles and a force fumble at middle linebacker. Jake Bradshaw led the team with three sacks, also forcing a fumble.
Damascus went through the 2015 season with the sour taste of last year's 3A state championship loss to Franklin, where they gave up a 21-point lead. The experience played a big factor early in the first quarter, not being rattled by the bright lights of M&T Bank Stadium. Dundalk, on the other hand, helped the Hornets with three early fumbles.
"As soon as we loss we knew we had to get back here" Markus Vinson said. Vinson finished with 30 yards on the ground on 7 carries.
Owls quarterback, Darius Samples gained 222 yard of total yards through the air and on the ground. On the Owls only touchdown drive in the first half, Samples converted a fourth and goal after gaining 21 yards on third and goal from the Hornets 23-yard line. That was the Owls only positive moment of the game.
Jake Funk was one touchdown away from tying Rob Chesson's (Old Mill) single game record for touchdowns in a game. If it wasn't for the running clock rule, Funk would have had enough time to set a new state record, scoring his seventh touchdown in the third quarter.
“He has the hardest work ethic that I ever seen,” starting safety and backup running, Will Armstrong, said about playing with Funk since the 6th grade.
Vinson, will be one of the leaders for the 2016 Damascus Swarming Hornets. 28 seniors will not be apart of this team next year, which is a very large class on any level. Vinson, who finished with 9 rushing touchdowns, said that the Hornets will return next season with the same work ethic and intensity. Whether or not they duplicate their success is a question for next season.
Funk will now look to start a new legacy with the Terps next fall. He is one of the top recruits in the state that has called themselves “The Movement”, looking to start a new tradition for the locall recruits to stay in the state of Maryland. Along with him, the Movement includes Dwayne Haskins, Daryl Turner, Lorenzo Harrison, Tino Ellis, and Keandre Jones just to name a few.
Damascus state title run has many great stories in it, coming back from losing a year, an historical season from the star player, and the feel good story of quarterback Julian Kinard, who had to fight for his life at the age of 11. We will remember the 2015 Swarming Hornets.