It took DeAndre’ Lane exactly 15 seconds to produce Catonsville High’s first golden moment while wearing the brand new gold Comet jerseys. Lane returned the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown and the Comets (3-0) never looked back in a 35-6 thrashing of visiting Woodlawn (1-2) on Friday night.
Catonsville coach Rich Hambor originally planned on breaking out the gold jerseys in week seven for the homecoming game, but he decided to get in the spirit, sparked by the Comet Booster Club’s sale of gold T-shirts that turned the hill of fans into a sea of gold.
“It was just outstanding school spirit today,” Hambor said.
The players picked up on the enthusiasm with the team’s most complete effort of the season.
The defense held the Warriors to minus 30 yards rushing and got interceptions from Lane and Nigel Minter.
Minter returned his interception 33 yards in the second half for a touchdown.
“I was reading the quarterback and I was playing the receiver too, so I just looked and I saw the ball was overthrown and I just went straight to the ball and then I used the rest of my team to score that touchdown.”
Defensive end T.J. Henry set the tone for the strong defensive effort with a tackle of Jerrod Gaither for a 2-yard loss on the Warriors first play from scrimmage.
Linebacker Joseth Hylton tackled quarterback James Keaton for a 7-yard loss on the second play.
They were two of nine plays for minus yards for the Warriors, who were also sacked four times.
“Those front seven guys just did an outstanding job,” Hambor said.
The defensive stalwarts included linemen Henry, Cheldon Simon, Marvin Lambert and Darius Williams and linebackers Hylton, Julian Singletary and Devin Ray.
They forced Woodlawn into an exclusive passing game and, although the Warriors passed for 220 yards on 14 of 25 passes, the Comet secondary of Lane, Minter, Keon Webb, Dom Johnson and Delray Ragland bent, but didn’t break.
“We had some great open-field tackling,” said Hambor, who praised the play of Warrior freshman quarterback Keaton. “He’s a really good quarterback. He took a lot of shots, but he stood in the whole game and threw some great passes.”
Keaton passed for 181 of the 220 yards and wide receiver Kai Roberts caught 10 passes for 86 yards.
But Roberts’ biggest play came on an option pass to Stephan Windstead that gained 41 yards and moved the ball to the Comets’ 10-yard line late in the first quarter.
Trailing 7-0, the Warriors had its best opportunity to get back in the game, but on third and goal from the 12, Henry sacked Keaton for a 7-yard loss and Lane intercepted the ball in the end zone to stop the threat.
Lane ran for 27 yards on the first play of the next drive.
Webb added a 10-yard run and Hylton raced 13 and five yards, setting up a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Sprankle to Teddy Crayton.
It was Crayton’s third touchdown catch in the past two games and was the only pass completed by the Comets all night.
“We kind of bumped each other and I had to step back and jump up and get the ball,” said Crayton, who feels he is making a connection with Sprankle. “I told him if he throws the ball, I’m going to get it.”
“That was a great catch,” Hambor said.
The Comets kept the ball on the ground for all but one play the rest of the game and finished with 268 rushing yards behind of line of center Jake Faircloth, guards Brandon Dixon and and Zack Delker and tackles Mason Klompus and Julian Robinson.
Lane led the way with 123 yards on 18 carries.
Hylton added 77 yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns and Webb added 50 yards on 10 touches.
Woodlawn’s only score came on a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter by Chris Davis.
The Comets led 21-0 at halftime, and scored twice in the second half.
KIcker Garrett Wack nailed all five extra point tries with the help of long snapper Nathan Hines and holder Joey Getzendanner.
Getzendanner, the reserve quarterback, got some unexpected early work when senior starter Sprankle was injured in the neck area after throwing his first interception of the season.
He was taken away by ambulance and his official status was unknown.
“Right now, we think it’s just a stinger, but we are going to wait until he gets it checked out,” Hambor said. “We have to take precaution with any injury to the neck area.”
With Sprankle at the helm, the Comets have only committed one turnover in three victories.
His return would be welcome as the Comets have tough games on the road at Franklin (Sept. 21) and Hereford (Sept. 28).
“It doesn’t get any easier,” Hambor said.