Parkville senior quarterback Kevin Smith ran for two touchdowns and passed for one to lead the unbeaten Knights (5-0) to a 34-14 win over previously-unbeaten Catonsville (4-1).
Ricky Sears caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Diluca and Anthony Fliggins had a touchdown run for the host Comets.
The Knights racked up 397 total yards, including 371 rushing using the triple option.
Smith (101 yards, 12 attempts) and Arriq Redd (116 yards, 16 attempts) led the rushing attack that also got boosts from Da’Vaughn Curbeam (88) and Raymone Wood (36) and Noah Hambrick (35), who combined for 71 yards on just nine carries.
The attack certainly impressed Catonsville junior defensive back Sears.
“We watched a lot of film. We were prepared, but it didn’t go how we wanted it to, and just breakdowns here and there and that’s a pretty good team, as good as we are going to face all year,” Sears said. “That’s probably the hardest offense I’ve ever seen in my time of seven years of playing football.”
Catonsville came out of the gate strong defensively.
On fourth and three on the Knights first possession, Mateen Kareem stopped Redd for one yard at the Parkville 47.
But, five plays later, the Knights got an interception from Jordan Lovelace at the Parkville 11.
After gaining just 19 yards, the Knights were forced to punt from their own 30.
Catonsville didn’t capitalize on its next possession and, after two empty drives, the Knights marched 37 yards on five plays for their first touchdown when Smith scored from three yards out on the first play of the second quarter.
Parkville coach Justin Payne wasn’t surprised by the sluggish start from his offense.
“We didn’t make many adjustments, we just needed to do what we do better, we run the triple option and things have to be done right or it doesn’t work,” Payne said. “We just had to buckle down and get ourselves together. Sometimes, we come out flat when we play away.”
A fumble ended Catonsville’s next drive, but good defensive pressure on third down by Parker Douala forced the first of two incompletions and the turnover on downs gave the Comets another chance to drive for the tying score.
A 15-yard pass to Doula and 11-yard run from Anthony Fliggins (50 yards, 15 carries) got the ball across the 50, but the threat ended when they turned the ball over on downs at the 38,
Parkville responded and Smith completed a 6-play 62-yard drive with a 15-yard TD pass to Hambrick.
Matt Oliveira’s second extra point made it 14-0 with 21.6 seconds left in the first half.
Catonsville came out in the second half and marched 61 yards on 12 plays for a score.
Key plays included a 20-yard run by Fliggins, 8-yard first-down run by Sears and 13-yard completion from Diluca to Douala that moved the ball to the 7-yard line.
Four plays later, Fliggins spun into the end zone from the one and Jack Krug’s extra-point made it 14-7 with 4:04 left in the third quarter.
On the next play for the Knights, Smith scampered 24 yards and it started an 8-play 80-yard drive that culminated with a sneak by Smith.
A 10-yard touchdown run by Redd bumped the lead to 27-7, but the Comets still had some fireworks left.
Sears stretched way out and hauled in a 35-yard touchdown pass from Diluca with 3:31 remaining, cutting the lead to 27-14 with 3:31 left in the game.
“It was a seam route and I just basically did my job, what I was told to do and that’s basically what I’m here for,” Sears said. “The guy missed the tackle and I just kept going.”
The catch impressed his coach.
“That was a good one. I was shocked that he caught that one,” said Catonsville coach Jaren Maybin, noting Sears is his utility player. “He’s my second string quarterback, my second string running back, he plays safety and corner. We’ve got him listed as athlete.”
“My favorite is defense,” Sears said.
The Knights added another touchdown on a 9-yard run by Redd, who followed the lead block of center Blair McBorrough.
Maybin knew his undefeated team was in for a challenge.
“Going against the triple option is tough, it’s tough at every level and especially against a team that runs it well and they’ve been running it well for along time,” Maybin said. “I think Parkville is a solid team and we’ve got a lot of learning and getting better to do, but I’m proud of the product that we put on the field tonight.”
Maybin also praised both quarterbacks.
“He (Diluca) is getting better, I always talk about him being a lacrosse kid and I think this is his second year of football and we are trying to develop him into a quarterback,” Maybin said.
“He is progressing and we are proud of him.”
What about Parkville’s Smith?
“I think he makes good decisions and I think he executes their offense the way that they want him to,” Maybin said.
Payne also appreciates his own signal-caller.
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“He is a true leader, when he’s on the field, it’s just a different vibe, it’s a different beat, he’s got confidence,” Payne said. “He’s being doing this for three years and running this offense is not an easy offense to run and it’s definitely not an easy offense to prepare for. He’s put these guys on his back.”