The Catonsville football team might have lost its perfect record with a 34-7 defeat to visiting Parkville on Friday night, but the final score was not indicative as to how close the game was.
The score was tied at 7 after three quarters, but after the Comets’ leading tackler Josh Williams suffered a leg injury, the Knights scored 27 unanswered points.
The injury came after Williams, a defensive back, made a tackle for a 3-yard loss 16 seconds into the fourth quarter. It was Williams’ 10th tackle of the night. He returned to the game and finished with 12 tackles.
With Williams out, Parkville running back Conner Hamilton had two carries for 14 yards, with the final two giving the Knights (2-2) a 13-7 lead.
Catonsville (3-1) was offsides on the extra-point attempt, so the Knights went for two. Quarterback Kamoree Woodson ran in the 2-point conversion for a 15-7 lead with 10:07 left in the fourth quarter.
The Comets put running back Anthony Fliggins in for quarterback Sean Ryan and he ran for 11 yards on the first play. On fourth-and-2, a bad snap went way over his head and the Comets turned the ball over on downs at their own 20.
Six plays later, Woodson found Josh Smith in the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown.
“It was a jump ball and I went up for it,” Smith said.
Parkville’s strong running game in the second half in the triple option allowed Smith to get man-to-man coverage.
“We just ran the ball, we just realized that the running game was working and when they came up on us we threw the ball over the top,” said Smith, who also scored the Knights’ first touchdown on a 55-yard pass from Woodson with 7:31 left in the first half. “The defense picked up on my out route, so I ran up the middle and they left me wide open.”
Smith, who is also the kicker, booted the extra-point that tied the score at 7.
Parkville coach Justin Payne has been impressed with Smith, who is new to football this season.
“This is his first year ever playing football,” said Payne, noting that Smith played soccer the past two years. “He has the best hands I’ve seen at Parkville since I’ve been here and I’ve been here seven years. He catches everything.”
Catonsville started the game with an 81-yard kickoff return by Fliggins to the 11-yard line.
Three plays later, Catonsville’s Jack Krug lined up for a 25-yard field goal, but Parkville jumped offsides. On fourth-and-3, the Comets went for it and Daniel Heffern scored on an inside reverse from 4 yards out.
Krug’s extra point made it 7-0 with 9:03 left in the first quarter.
Smith, who played safety on defense, said the early touchdown lit a spark.
“It got us all pumped, the momentum changed and we came out an put big points on them,” Smith said.
Parkville’s defense swarmed the Comets’ running game, with linebacker Desmond Walker leading the charge. Walker played defensive end last year.
“He plays both ways,” Payne said. “He’s relentless. He’s been playing football since he was young and he’s tough, so we had issues at linebacker, being young, so I said it’s time to move him there. He’s a playmaker.”
The defense scored Parkville’s last two touchdowns in the final 2:32. Brandein Savage returned an interception 40 yards and Jeriel Lacy returned a lateral 15 yards for a score.
The loss was the first for coach Jaren Maybin’s Comets, who had outscored their first three opponents 81-0.
Payne is just glad to see his young Parkville squad making progress.
“We are very young and inexperienced, I lost 20 senior starters last year and my quarterback transferred to New Town, so it’s a tough offense [triple option] to run when you are inexperienced,” Payne said. “We’ve just each week been getting better.”