When they were freshmen on the Catonsville High junior varsity, sack-happy defensive ends Sean Lipscomb and Julian Jones made a pact to meet at the quarterback.
Now, as senior standouts on a 8-0 squad that averages more than four sacks per game, those meetings have become commonplace.
Fortunately for Comets quarterback Aaron Jones, he doesn't absorb their punishment in practice — Lipscomb and Julian Jones are limited by the Catonsville coaching staff to how much mayhem they can unleash.
"Me and Julian have had a thing since freshman year," Lipscomb said. "As long as we see each other down the line, we make sure we see each other in the backfield. We race to see who gets to the quarterback first."
"That's a perfect example of two guys that have come up together and learned the same thing for four years," Catonsville coach Rich Hambor said.
They are part of a nasty and opportunistic defense that has already produced eight defensive touchdowns this fall.
Julian Jones boasts a pair of fumble recoveries that he has returned for touchdowns and Lipscomb forced one of the fumbles with a jarring tackle in a 35-7 win over Franklin.
The fact that the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Jones was in the right place at the right time on both occasions was no accident.
"We had been watching film seeing how the quarterback scrambles out," Julian Jones said. "Knowing I have Sean on the back side, causing fumbles and stuff, I can always depend on my D-line. Against Woodlawn, the quarterback scrambled to my side, and Antoine Wright was holding him up. I just came up and gave him a pop, and the ball just fell out on the ground. I just reacted and picked it up."
Jones also proved earlier this season he has good hands on the offensive side..
In back-to-back wins over Boys' Latin, 27-7, and Perry Hall, 35-23, he caught two touchdown passes in each game from Aaron Jones.
Although they are not related, the Joneses proved they were key components of a making the Comet family winners.
"For Aaron and Julian to have a great first game and come up big, it let everybody know that we were pretty deep and we were not going to depend on one or two people to carry the load," Hambor said.
It was a big help, considering standout Deniko Carter, who leads the team with 421 yards receiving (32 yards per catch), missed the opening game with a broken thumb.
Julian Jones had shown signs he could be a receiving threat at tight end in 2010 when he caught four touchdown passes, including an 85-yarder in a 39-7 season-ending victory over Towson.
"We knew Julian could get downfield last year, but a lot of that was a product of our running game," Hambor said. This year it's even — it's our running game and him being able to get downfield to get separation. In the Towson game (last year), he caught a pass in the middle and outran the safety and cornerback, who both had an angle on him."
For the tight end and captain, catching passes turned into a whole new adventure.
"Back when I played rec, I played offensive line and I never got the ball," said Jones, who converted to wideout as an eighth-grader playing for the Banneker Falcons. "(This year's success) surprised me a lot, because I was only expecting to get about the same as last year. We don't pass the ball a lot, so to come out with two touchdowns in the first couple games was very exciting."
In the convincing win over Franklin, Jones was upset because he dropped a couple passes and he apologized to the team.
"He wanted to make it easier on his team and he wanted to get his backup in the game," Hambor said.