A spirited, well-played game between the Patapsco and Towson football teams was dampened Friday when Patriots defensive lineman Bryan Newton-Epps was injured during a touchdown run by the Generals’ Nayshin Simmons.
A hush came over the crowd and players on both teams took a knee as Simmons lay sprawled on the grass. He eventually rose to his feet, and later was taken to the hospital for further tests.
Patapsco coach Tyler Clough and athletic director Chris McGuinness expected Newton-Epps to be fine. When play resumed, Towson closed out a 32-13 road victory in the Ravens RISE High School Football Showdown.
Simmons was the difference, running for 158 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. The sophomore also had a key interception late in the fourth quarter. The Generals improved to 3-1, after winning just one game last season.
“It was a good game. We played tough,” Simmons said. “It was a little tough at halftime, but we came back and played as a team.”
Towson’s Rodger Holcombe was at full speed after being hampered by an ankle injury over the past two games. The versatile running back-wide receiver and defensive back had 14 carries for 72 yards, with a pair of touchdowns.
The Generals took a 6-0 lead to open the game with an impressive 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Simmons carried the load with seven runs for 47 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown scamper.
The Patriots (1-3) responded with a 43-yard touchdown run by Jose Padilla with 1:59 left in the opening quarter. The Generals kept the Patriots off balance with their single-wing offense, and Padilla finished with 162 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns.
Towson regained the lead, 12-7, on a 14-yard touchdown run by Holcombe with 8:30 left in the half.
The defense for both teams came up big in the second quarter.
Towson's Jayquan Jenkins jumped in front of a receiver for an interception at his own 12-yard line and ran the ball back 63 yards, into Patapsco territory. On the ensuing drive, the Patriots forced a fumble on the 1 that was recovered by defensive back Dashawn Webster, keeping them within five at the break.
The change of momentum late in the half carried over into the third quarter, when Padilla broke another touchdown run, this one from 36 yards. After the Generals managed to block the extra-point attempt, Patapsco led 13-12.
Towson took advantage of an offside penalty that gave it a third-and-2 from the Patriots’ 40, and Simmons converted on a short run. Simmons continued to pound the ball with four consecutive carries, the last of them the 15-yard touchdown on which Newton-Epps was injured. Simmons also scored the 2-point conversion to put the Generals back on top, 20-13, with 10:23 left in the game.
“We played well, we competed well, but at the end of the day, we just ran out of some horses,” Clough said. “I am proud of the effort. They worked hard.”
Towson’s Karan Ball had a key sack for a 10-yard loss that pushed the Patriots back to their 30 and set up a third-and-25. Simmons followed with an interception on the next play. That set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Holcombe that put the game away. Simmons added a 3-yard score at the final whistle.
“It was a tough game by both teams,” first-year Towson coach Ryan Pittillo said. “Patapsco came out and played well. Defensively, their linebackers played a very good game. Like last week, we got down early, but to bounce back and put up 20 points was impressive.”
Towson 32, Patapsco 13
Towson 6 6 0 20 — 32
Patapsco 7 0 6 0 — 13
T — Simmons 7 run (kick failed)
P — Padilla 43 run (Epperley kick)
T — Holcombe 14 run (kick failed)
P — Padilla 36 run (kick failed)
T — Simmons 15 run (Simmons run)
T — Holcombe run (pass failed)
T — Simmons 3 run (end of regulation)