The Francis Scott Key defense flexed its muscle and the offense made just enough big plays to help the Eagles stay unbeaten against Winters Mill Friday night.
A 41-yard pass from senior quarterback Jarren Rutter to Austin Schemm in the first quarter helped FSK take an early lead that set the tone for an eventual 16-0 victory over the Falcons.
“I feel like this was our best defensive effort of the [season],” Francis Scott Key head coach Will Thompson said. “I feel like a lot of the guys really stepped up and contributed in several different ways.”
The Eagles’ first touchdown was set up by the defense. FSK (3-0) pushed the Falcons back deep into their own territory with three straight tackles for loss. Following a punt by Winters Mill senior Braxtyn Koch, the Eagles set up shop near midfield.
After a pair of runs by senior Nick Diehl, Rutter dropped back on third down and found Schemm down the seam for the long score through the air.
“We really pride ourselves on getting some chunk plays throughout the game,” Thompson said. “When we execute it, the potential is there. Jarren does a really good job pushing the football down the field. He’s our heart and soul and does a terrific job.”
Winters Mill (0-3) put together a drive just before half, driving down to the FSK 35-yard line. The Eagles defense stiffened, forcing a false start by the Falcons, and backing them up on the next two plays.
Koch entered the game to attempt a 55-yard field goal, but the Eagles charged through the line and turned back the low kick to end the half.
“We made some mistakes and they capitalized,” Winters Mill head coach Matt Miller said. “They have got some nice skill kids, some nice playmakers. They made us pay for getting out of our zone too far. We’ve got to make plays. Tip of the hat to them. Played a hard game. We did not do enough to give ourselves an opportunity to win.”
After the half, the Eagles added a field goal on another drive that started near midfield. The defense turned the Falcons away on fourth down and the FSK offense took over at its own 48. A 19-yard reception by Ryan Rill picked up a first down and a couple of nice runs by Diehl put the ball inside the red zone.
The drive stalled there, and senior kicker Keith LaPierre booted one through from 26 yards out to increase the lead to 10-0.
The FSK defense added one more big play to help close out the contest. Trailing late, Winters Mill attempted a fake punt by Koch. The senior took the snap and rolled to his right, nearing the first-down marker.
Francis Scott Key senior defensive lineman Hayden Johns and a host of Eagles forced Koch out of bounds just short of the sticks to set up the Eagles on the Falcons’ 40-yard line.
“It’s just about being on the same page all week,” said Diehl, who also had a stellar game on defense by registering two tackles for loss. “We executed fairly well, could’ve done better. It was a hard-fought game. We came out with the [win].”
Looking to salt the game away, FSK went for another big play on fourth down on the ensuing drive. Rutter took the snap and was immediately pressured and rolled out of the pocket. The senior lofted the ball toward the end zone where his senior wideout Rill out-jumped the defenders and brought the ball in for the score.
“I trust my wide receivers,” Rutter said. “Ryan [Rill] is a really good receiver and he went up and got it.”
Thompson applauded his team’s ability to focus on the task at hand, despite dealing with adverse circumstances. The Eagles have dealt with a rash of injuries this season and a storm Thursday night forced this Eagles’ home game to be moved to Long Reach High School in Columbia, MD.
“We had some injuries, we were short-handed with COVID and all that other stuff,” Thompson said. “Guys really stepped in and did what they needed to do.”
Francis Scott Key 16, Winters Mill 0
FSK – Jarren Rutter 41-yard pass to Austin Schemm (Keith LaPierre kick good)
FSK – LaPierre 26-yard field goal good
FSK – Rutter 16-yard pass to Ryan Rill (Conversion no good)