Rec Sports Spotlight: Gamber, Mt. Airy making way in MVYFL

The Gamber-Smallwood varsity football team, which competes in the Mountain Valley Youth Football League, is shown in action.
The Gamber-Smallwood varsity football team, which competes in the Mountain Valley Youth Football League, is shown in action. (Courtesy photo)

Two local teams solidified their claims to a Mountain Valley Youth Football League playoff spot last Saturday with wins on the road.

The Gamber-Smallwood varsity team beat Walkersville 18-14. Mount Airy's junior varsity team beat Urbana 12-8.


Gamber’s eighth-graders are now tied with Oakdale at 3-1 for second place in the league's Mountain Division. Middletown leads at 5-0.

Mount Airy’s 12-year-olds are in fourth place at 2-2 in the Mountain Division. Both teams are even with last year, when they won two games apiece.

The top four finishing teams in each division make the playoffs.

Coach John Martin expected a better season this season because he had more size on the team.

His confidence was rewarded when the Mustangs beat Brunswick and Francis Scott Key by 35-0 and 32-0 in their first two games.

But Middletown beat them 32-14 in Game 3.

On Sept. 22, the Mustangs journeyed to Walkersville in hopes of getting back on track.

Things didn't start well as the Junior Lions ran the opening kick-off back for a touchdown. The two-point kick gave them an 8-0 lead.

However Mustangs quarterback Brady Covey hit tight end Carter Bulow for a 45-yard touchdown strike later in the quarter. But they couldn't convert, and the score stayed 8-6 Walkersville.

Covey later hit Tommy Sharp with a 20-yard touchdown pass.

By halftime, Walkersville had scored again and led Gamber 14-12.

However, the Mustangs opened the second half with a 65-yard drive that consumed most of the quarter.

With backs Matthew Heath and Sharp steadily moving downfield, Gamber ground it all the way into the end zone.

Sharp ran the final 5 yards near the end of the quarter to put his team ahead, 18-14.


A couple of key second-half defensive plays protected that lead.

Andrew Schneider recovered a Lions fumble around the Walkersville 40, and Sharp intercepted a pass later on to clinch it.

Martin explained that his team had the winning recipe Saturday, and that it must maintain it.

“The key is ball control,” he said. “If we control the clock and grind things out, we can dictate how the game will go. We must also play sound defense. … If we keep playing this way, the chances are good that we can match up with anybody.”

Mount Airy’s JV didn’t seem to match up too well with Urbana when Saturday’s game began. Coach Greg Baharoff explained that half of its roster of 14 should be playing in a lower JV division for younger players.

However, they had to be combined with his upper division JV squad because there weren’t enough players for two teams.

The Bulldogs lost their first two games by shutout before beating Francis Scott Key 39-0 the week before.

Urbana was 3-0 and had outscored its opponents 48-6.

The Bulldogs though, held down the Urbana offense the entire first half.

They began a drive in the first quarter that carried to the Hawks’ 6-yard line. Earlier, they had maintained that drive when quarterback Frank Weaver connected with Payton Wilhelm on a third-and-long pass play.

Then from the 6, they took a shot on fourth-and-goal. The Bulldogs succeeded when Weaver, scrambling to avoid a pass rush, hit Janero Marchany in the back of the end zone.

The kick missed but Mount Airy still led 6-0 midway in the first quarter.

Mount Airy began another drive in the second quarter. Amir Short sparked things with a 15-yard run. Weaver then hit Nicholas Mele who made a tip-toe catch along the sidelines, giving Mount Airy a first-and-goal.

The Bulldogs quarterback later took it in from the 5 to make it 12-0.

The Hawks tore into that lead on its opening drive of the second half. Pushing straight down the field, it then scored on a 35-yard run. The 2-point conversion kick reduced the Mount Airy lead to 12-8.

“That was the Urbana team I’d expected to see in the first quarter,” Baharoff said. “They came out in the third quarter ready to play football.”

The teams went back and forth in scoreless fashion the rest of the quarter.

Late in the game, Mount Airy had the ball around midfield. At that point, the Bulldogs pulled a play that won the game even though it didn’t score.

Weaver, again on a scramble, threw a 45-yard bomb to Marchany deep in Urbana territory. The Bulldogs ran a few more plays afterward that failed to result in points but ate up so much of the clock that Urbana didn’t have enough left to mount a drive.

Baharoff credited his team’s defense including Manny Rodrigues, Short, Cutter Stanton, and Ryan Thompson, for holding what he considered “a more powerful opponent.”

The Bulldogs coach said the win over a top-notch team has had an impact on his thinking about the postseason.

“I didn’t contemplate the playoffs before this season,” he said. “Now at 2-2, I think that this is a legitimate possibility.”