If the fringes of Hurricane Earl had gotten to Gloucester sooner Thursday night, Phoebus' Breon Key would have been dodging raindrops. Instead, he just kept eluding Dukes defenders.
Key scored three touchdowns in the Phantoms' 42-0 victory over Gloucester, catching two touchdown passes and returning a punt for a score.
Key's second touchdown came on the play of the night, a busted punt return halfway through the first quarter. Key picked up the ball on one bounce at the 36-yard line and took off down the right sideline. Key then stopped at midfield, waving the off-balance Gloucester defenders past him, before cutting to the left sideline.
Sixty-four yards later, Key was celebrating in the end zone for his second touchdown of the contest.
"I just had to take it to the crib because I know I have playmaking abilities," Key said. "I knew if I got the rock, I had it."
Luckily for Key, his coach, Stan Sexton, didn't see the part where he jumped up to pick up a bouncing punt.
"I asked one of my assistant coaches what happened at the beginning and he was like, 'You don't want to know,' " Sexton said. "Evidently the ball bounced and he jumped up and caught it. Him being a basketball player, I guess."
The Phantoms did not take long to score on their first possession of the game. After forcing Gloucester into a quick three-and-out, running back Tyree Lee took a handoff off left tackle for 25-yards on the first play of the game for Phoebus. On the very next play, quarterback Eric Enderson hit Key in the left corner of the end zone for Phoebus' first touchdown of the season.
Backup quarterback Jordan Roby and Key would hook up on the same route on the first play of the fourth quarter, with Key again waltzing into the end zone untouched to give the Phantoms a 42-0 advantage.
"He couldn't check me one-on-one," Key said. "If it is me and the defensive back one-on-one, I just tell my quarterback to throw it up."
Staked to an early lead, Enderson spent most of the rest of the game handing off to running backs Lee and Deshaun Arnold. Lee, who totaled 108 yards on eight carries, and Arnold carried the ball six times for a combined 79 yards on an eight-play drive to open the third quarter.
Arnold, who racked up 90 yards on 13 carries, would score on an 8-yard run off the right side to end the drive and put the Phantoms ahead 35-0.
Gloucester's best chance to score early on came at the beginning of the second quarter, as quarterback Zack Tarpey led the Dukes to their 47-yard line. But Tarpey was stuffed twice at the line of scrimmage and the Dukes were forced to punt.
The Phantoms put their 31st consecutive Peninsula District victory away with a couple of touchdowns toward the end of the second quarter. After they removed their first-team offense in the beginning of the quarter, Jones hit wideout Romond Deloatch with a 50-yard TD pass.
Jones eluded pressure on the play, rolling out to his right to find a wide-open Deloatch on the right sideline 10 yards from the goal line. Deloatch juked his defender and then sprinted down the sideline for his first score of the season.
Phoebus scored five minutes later, with 2:23 left in the quarter, on an 18-yard touchdown run from Lee to take a 28-0 lead at halftime.
PHOEBUS 42, GLOUCESTER 0
Phoebus 14 14 7 7 - 42Gloucester 0 0 0 0 - 0
Pho: Key 23 pass from Enderson (Enderson kick)
Pho: Key 64 punt return (Enderson kick)
Pho: Deloatch 50 pass from Jones (Enderson kick)
Pho: Lee 18 run (Griffin kick)
Pho: Arnold 8 run (Enderson kick)
Pho: Key 29 pass from Jones (Griffin kick)
TEAM STATS Glo PhoFirst downs 6 16Rushes-yards 33-95 29-204Passing yards 34 102Comp-Att-Int 4-12-0 4-9-3Punts-avg. 7-27 1-40Penalties-yards 6-28 3-35Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun