Leading up to Catonsville’s home game against Dulaney head coach Jaren Maybin challenged his team to get off to a good start and achieve the goals he wanted on offense, defense and special teams.
The Comets checked all the boxes and the result was a dominant 50-0 victory.
“I did not expect that at all,” Maybin said.
Senior Jayvon Brown, playing in his first varsity season, knew his teammates had high expectations when he prepared to return the opening kickoff and he delivered with an 87-yard touchdown run.
“Since I start it off, everybody is looking at me to start it off and I do every time,” said Brown, who was untouched. “It was on the right side and I saw the hole my teammates opened and I went.”
“The kickoff return definitely built confidence in us,” Maybin said. “We’ve been harping all week about starting the game off the right way from the first whistle to the last whistle and it seems like it’s starting to finally set in and they are starting to buy into it.”
Catonsville forced six turnovers in the game and Jamez Azbill had an interception and fumble recovery and he was also on the kickoff return team on Brown’s TD run.
“I just went up there and blocked and saw him run right past me, so he made me look a lot better,” Azbill said.
The defense was even better for the Comets as they held the Lions to 35 total yards from scrimmage.
“We were playing with a first-year player at quarterback and he’s struggling,” Dulaney coach Daron Reid said.
Dulaney’s starting quarterback, senior Alec Pierson, was out with a wrist injury so junior Wayne White was filling in. The running game was led by Jackson Cooper (49 yards).
Catonsville’s first extra point was blocked by Tyler Harrington, but the 6-0 lead didn’t last long.
Josh Williams had the first of his two interceptions deep in Dulaney territory and, although the Comets turned it over on downs on that possession, they got the ball back on an interception by Azbill.
On the play, Jeremiah Turner put heavy pressure on White and Mason Ritter deflected it to Azbill.
A 17-yard pass play from Ja’von Cole White to Chris Heffern (team-high 55 yards rushing) set up a one-yard touchdown run by Karon Pearson and his two-point conversion run made it 14-0 with 7:30 left in the first quarter.
Brown’s 37-yard punt return changed the field position, but after a punt, Dulaney’s White was tackled for a 10-yard loss by Reggie Byrd. It was one of nine tackles for loss by the Comets.
Two plays later, Azbill recovered a botched handoff at the Dulaney 14.
“We all fly to the ball and as a team we are just all working very hard and when we see the ball, we go get the ball, so whoever gets the ball we go get them,” said Azbill, one of several veteran defenders. “We’ve got an older group out there on defense and we all really took leadership and stepped up.”
Five plays later, Pearson scored on a two-yard run and Jack Krug nailed the extra point for a 21-0 lead.
“We gave them a short field so they had less than 20 yards to go, so the morale changes for your defense, you just come off the field and you have to go right back on,” Reid said.
Catonsville had short fields all night and only gained 161 total yards (129 rushing) on offense.
With 2:31 left in the half, Heffern had the longest run from scrimmage. His 44-yard run included a late stiff arm.
That led to a nine-yard touchdown run by Anthony Fliggins with 1:50 left in the half and a 28-0 lead.
On the last play of the half, Heffern intercepted a pass and raced 68 yards for a touchdown.
The 35-0 lead at halftime led to a running clock and the Comets continued to pour it on.
They added a nine-yard touchdown run by freshman Carlito Jones in his first varsity game and an eight-yard TD run by Heffern. A safety to completed the scoring.
Maybin was impressed with Jones’ work for the JV the previous week and promoted him.
“We spent all week just building up his confidence and said you have an amazing opportunity to get carries and get significant playing time as a freshman and he stepped up to the plate and he’s got a bright future,” Maybin said.
The Comets varsity opened the season with a 7-0 victory over Randallstown in a shortened game, while Dulaney opened with a 56-0 loss to Owings Mills.
“We haven’t started 0-2 like this in I don’t know how long,” Reid said. “We are playing with guys who haven’t played football in two or three years and it’s showing, they are great kids, but I told them this is a gladiator sport, this is a different game, this is a different animal so they have to grow into it.”
Catonsville’s Maybin was especially glad his seniors got to enjoy a big win.
“This senior class were freshmen when I first got here and we’ve come a long way, but we’ve got so much more to do,” Maybin said. “I’m excited for what this team can actually do and seeing us put up 50 points definitely created a lot more confidence in our guys and that’s all that we can hope for because a confident team is all that we can hope for.”
He’s also glad to see his team reaching the goals they set before the season.
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“We want to get those takeaways, we want to put up a bunch of rushing yards, we want to score touchdowns, but ultimately, we want to win the game,” he said. “It’s finally starting to set in. The results speak for themselves, 50-0, I can’t believe it.”