[OWINGS MILLS] What began as a hot and humid Friday Afternoon, turned into a calm breezy Friday Night under the lights.
It was an even better night for the McDonogh Eagles, defeating the Franklin Indians 35-21, owning bragging rights for a year in the Reistertown Rivalry.
There was much anticipation for this game and I can tell both schools were locked in when I arrived an hour before kickoff. Franklin had the first possession of the game but it ended early with an Eric Burrell interception, that set up the Eagles in Franklin territory, starting their drive at the 15.
Jansen Durham would give the Eagles the first lead of the game, pushing threw the line on a quarterback sneak. Jansen had two rushing touchdowns, his second one coming in the 4th quarter of an option read inside the 20 – that would turn out to be the dagger the Eagles needed. He also threw touchdown pass to a wide open BJ Farrare.
Franklin got off to a slow start, playing catch up for much of the game. Franklin's first 4 possesions ended with either a punt or a turnover. Jimmy Lahay had a rough outing in his first start. The Indians never had control of the line of scrimmage, reason why Lahay could not connect with his star reciever, Steven Smothers, who didn't catch his first pass until the 2nd quarter.
The Indians would score right before halftime, thanks to Smother's kick return that set them up at midfield. Lahay connected with Loyola-Blakesfield transfer, Damon Hazelton, on a 25-yard jumpball at the pylon with 16 seconds left, trailing 9-21 at halftime.
McDonogh relied on their work horse, Mylique McGriff, to carry them in this game. McGriff finished with 37 carries for 215 yards – stats courtesy of his moms and pops. I asked McGriff what was his motivation for the game, he simply said “I just did it for my team”
“Playing for McDonogh is a great opportunity, I'm blessed to be in this situation” McGriff said about wearing the Orange and Black. Only a junior, McGriff will look to build off this stellar performance. He showed great vision, elusiveness, and was never tackled by one defender, reason why coach Damico kept feeding him the rock.
Franklin cut the lead after Kareem Felder returned a fumble recovery 66 yards, but couldn't stop the Eagles from driving up the field on the ensuing possession. The Indians defense was on the field a lot this game and it showed on Eagles' final scoring possession. The Indians had opportunities to gain control of the game but mistakes and penalties kept them from building momentum.
McDonogh suffered a couple casualties, both McGriff and Burrell walking away with ankle injuries. McGriff finished the game but Burrell did not finish the game. Luckily for the Eagles their next game isn't until September 18th, when they travel to North Carolina to take on Mallard Creek. Franklin will look for their first win traveling to Perry Hall next Friday.