After Catonsville earned its first victory over Lansdowne in the second game of the season, Catonsville coach Rich Hambor was concerned his young squad may have been overly confident when they hosted Chesapeake, of Anne Arundel County, Friday night.
His fears came to fruition as the Cougars rolled to a 41-7 victory.
Catonsville’s only score came in the fourth quarter on a 96-yard kickoff return by Dallas Evans.
“I saw the ball in the air and it fell into my hands and Jaylen [Williams] laid out a big block for me and I turned on the speed,” said Evans, who wasn’t in a celebratory mood at the time — because the Comets trailed 41-0 before the play.
He knows his 1-2 squad has work to do before they host Dundalk on Sept. 22.
“This week we didn’t really practice to our best abilities,” Evans said. “We have to work harder next week.”
Chesapeake quarterback Dylan Young knows the importance of crisp practices, after the Cougars lost their opener, 40-10, to Towson.
“Week one, we struggled,” said Young, whose squad bounced back to beat Severna Park, 28-14, the following week. “That Towson team played very well, but this week we had a great week of practice and this week we came out and we played team football like we know how.”
Two holding penalties stymied the Chesapeake attack early in the first quarter, but a deep pass from Young to Hunter Davis gained 31 yards and led to a 2-yard touchdown run by Tony Watkins (13 carries, 65 yards).
The extra-point snap was errant and an incomplete pass attempt gave the Cougars a 6-0 lead with 3:47 left in the first quarter.
The Comets responded with their best offensive possession of the night as they gained 46 yards on eight plays.
Quarterback Davonta Holland (8-for-15, 57 yards) completed passes of 16 yards to Evans, 8 to Sam Liberto, 6 to Javon Williams and 12 to Nelson Williams.
The drive took them into the second quarter, but on third and eight at the Cougars 34, the Comets were whistled for an illegal procedure penalty and, after a sack Michael Gimon, the Comets were forced to punt.
It was one of several illegal procedure penalties called on the Comets.
A penalty for running into the kicker earned the Comets five yards and they went for it on fourth and 11, but a scrambling Holland was stopped after a 7-yard gain.
Chesapeake went 70 yards in 10 plays with Watkins gaining 34 yards on the ground.
The final 27 yards came on a touchdown pass from Young to Russell Tongue.
“If our run game gets on like that, the play-action passes, if they are executed right, become tough to stop,” Chesapeake coach Rob Elliott said.
Colton Spangler’s extra-point made it 13-0 with 3:46 left in the second quarter.
Young completed a 29-yard pass to Tongue in the second half and finished 3 of 3 for 87 yards, but it was the running game that gained 119 yards that set up his passing perfection.
“They run hard, they are very great at clock management and their quarterback throws a nice ball,” Hambor said. “Those outs he threw were right on the money.”
Young praised the Cougars' offensive line that included tackles Jake Mearman and Matt Blades, guards Cameron Wilford and Andrew Long and center Dan Casalino.
“The offensive line was great tonight,” Young said. “They set up huge holes and our backs did their job. That was huge. They had to put eight in the box to stop the run. Anytime you do that, our receivers can do their job and they are going to get open.”
Chesapeake coach Rob Elliott also witnessed the line’s improvement.
“Our line has been a work in progress,” Elliott said. “Honestly, week one, we were awful. Week one, we were one of the worst teams to play football that week. We went into the practice after that week just concentrating on basics — be the best blocking team on the field and teams take care of themselves. The last two weeks that has kind of transpired and our offensive line has kind of gained confidence.”
Chesapeake’s third score of the first half was set up by a 30-yard interception return by Tyler Kirk.
Kirk was tackled at the 8-yard line, but the ball was moved to the 4 after a late hit penalty.
After a short run and illegal procedure penalty, Khalil Gary rolled in from six yards out and the Cougars took a 20-0 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Mike Storm had a 1-yard touchdown run, Dante Thompson blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone and Colby McNulty ran 20 yards for a score, making it 41-0 before Catonsville’s runback.
“We got up on Catonsville a little bit, but that’s a good football team,” Elliott said. “We watched them on film last week play a great game. We had some breaks go our way and that blocked punt ended up being a huge play.”
The Comets were playing without starting lineman Charles Sessions, who injured his shoulder a day before the game.
“Just losing Charles yesterday hurt us a lot,” said Hambor, whose squad returned no starters on offense or defense from last season. “He’s one of our best linemen.”
The bigger Chesapeake linemen also made a difference.
“On both sides of the line we were definitely getting overpowered, but at the same time, I don’t think we’ve run into a line as skilled as these guys before, and I just think our inexperience showed,” Hambor said.
Catonsville finished with 146 total yards, including 80 rushing.
Mike Robinson rushed for 32 yards and Holland gained 30.
Chesapeake finished with 206 total yards.