Francis Scott Key ended its turnaround season with a flair. Now, the Eagles are hoping to make the playoffs.
Nate Imes rushed for 165 yards and four touchdowns and scored a fifth time on a second-half interception return, and host Francis Scott Key got touchdowns on its first five drives and rolled to a 49-19 victory over Winters Mill on Friday night.
Francis Scott Key (6-3, 3-3) finished just 1-9 last year and has a shot to make the playoffs this season -- but coach Josh Rutter knows they’ll need some help. The Eagles ran the ball effectively throughout in their Wing-T offense, and Imes led the way, getting 99 of his yards in the first half as the Eagles jumped out to a 35-13 halftime lead.
However, Key was able to pass just enough to keep the Falcon defense off-balance. Quarterback Jake Pirrung threw two touchdowns in the first half.
“We said we really need to come out and not start slowly,” Rutter said. “They took that to heart.”
In addition, Imes, the county’s leading rusher coming into the game, kept breaking off big runs. The Key line often opened up big holes, and Winters Mill (5-5, 2-4) had some trouble defending the tricky Wing-T, which often relies on misdirection.
“It was really good tonight,” said Imes of his final regular-season game at Key. “I wanted to end it with a bang.”
Winters Mill couldn’t move the ball early and needed to punt on its first three possession, and that, combined with Key’s strong running, let the Eagles take off early. In fact, the Falcons finished with just 12 yards of total offense in the first quarter while Key took a 14-0 lead.
On the game’s first drive, Pirrung threw a deep fade into left corner of the end zone, and Grant Stanton made a leaping catch for a 13-yard touchdown. Braeden Welsh kicked the extra point for a quick 7-0 lead.
That capped a 62-yard scoring drive, and the Eagles then drove 50 yards and took a 14-0 lead on their next drive. Imes finished that with a 3-yard touchdown run.
Imes then ran for a 32-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter to close out a 65-yard drive. The Eagles made it 28-0 on their fourth possession, scoring on the first play when Pirrung tossed a 71-yard touchdown pass to a very wide-open Bailey Quesenberry.
Winters Mill’s offense got going on the ensuing possession and scored when Troy Blessing ran for a 3-yard touchdown. Alex Carr’s kick made it 28-7 with 5:58 left in the half.
Imes and Blessing then traded touchdown runs of 22 and 2 yards as the Eagles rolled into the half with a 35-13 lead. Key scored on five of its six first-half possessions; the only time it didn’t came when the Eagles got possession with just 25 seconds left in the second quarter.
Winters Mill drove deep into Key territory on the second half’s opening possession but Quesenberry picked off quarterback Alex Barnes’ pass at the 5-yard line. The Eagles then marched 95 yards, capped by Imes scoring on a 33-yard run, which came on a second-and-30 play.
Three plays later, Imes struck for his fifth touchdown of the night, intercepting Barnes and racing in from 15 yards out. Welsh’s kick made it 49-13 with just under three minutes left in the third quarter.
“He’s a special player,” Winters Mill coach Matt Miller said of Imes. “He really opens up a lot of things. When they’re clicking [on offense], it’s tough to defend.”
Winters Mill0 13 0 6 — 19
Francis Scott key 14 21 14 0 — 49
F-Grant Stanton 13 pass from Jake Pirrung (Braeden Welsh kick)
F-Nate Imes 3 run (Welsh kick)
F-Imes 32 run (Welsh kick)
F-Bailey Quesenberry 71 pass from Pirrung (Welsh kick)
WM-Troy Blessing 3 run (Alex Carr kick)
F-Imes 22 run (Welsh kick)
WM-Blessing 2 run (kick failed)
F-Imes 33 run (Welsh kick)
F-Imes 15 interception return (Welsh kick)
WM-Blessing 57 pass from Barnes (run failed)