xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

Wilde Lake football’s season ends with 35-0 loss to Huntingtown in state quarterfinals

Wilde Lake couldn’t pull off another upset.

After a 2-7 regular season and being seeded No. 8 in the Class 3A East playoffs, the Wildecats upset River Hill and Manchester Valley to advance to the state quarterfinals against No. 1 Huntingtown on Friday.

Advertisement

The host Hurricanes ended Wilde Lake’s Cinderella run on Friday, defeating the Wildecats 35-0 to advance to the state semifinals.

“It’s great,” said Huntingtown head coach Paul Friel. “We made it to the semifinals last year and came up a little short. To get here again unblemished when we played some great teams, but we’ve still got two more and we’ve got to win next week.”

The Canes defense dominated the night, holding the Wildecats to 27 yards and zero first downs before the running clock started, during which Wilde Lake gained 80 yards and two first downs on the game’s final drive. Huntingtown totaled four saves, with defensive lineman Victor Powell taking down Wilde Lake’s quarterback three times.

“They’ve done well all year,” Friel said. "We’ve had several shutouts and the couple of scores we’ve had were with our young guys in. They’re unselfish. ... They’re not real big, but they’re a great group of kids that play well together. "

Quarterback Trent Connolly ran for 77 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 85 and another score to lead the Hurricanes’ read-option offense. Friel said Connolly did a good job Friday of making the “smart plays.”

“He’s a smart player,” Friel said. “His efficiency is phenomenal. Even when they got pressure on him, he knew not to do anything foolish. He’s a smart competitor, and he knows the system well.”

“It’s all a mental game,” said Connolly about running the read-option. “I’ve been practicing this all my life, and I’m just trying to be smart.”

Wilde Lake head coach Brian Henderson said the bitter end to the Wildecats’ run doesn’t diminish the accomplishment of reaching the state quarterfinals.

Wilde Lake football defeated Manchester Valley, 22-0, on Friday, Nov. 16, 2019, in the second round of the MPSSAA Class 3A playoffs.

“It was a ride,” said Henderson. “I can’t even put it into words. It was a heck of a ride to be in the final eight. I can’t take anything away from Huntingtown, and they showed why they’re the No. 1 seed. We’ve got a young squad. I think this was more than anything an experience we will remember for years.”

Huntingtown (12-0) will host Damascus (10-2) in the state semifinals next week.

The game in Calvert County started the way Friel hoped it would — with a big play from his Canes. Friel knew Wilde Lake (4-7) had a chip on its shoulder after pulling off upsets in the first two rounds and hoped his team could start hot.

Noah Kuntz, who would later run for 60 yards and a touchdown, returned the opening kickoff 50 yards to put the Canes on Wilde Lake’s 30-yard line. The Canes, led by an offense that used motions and read-option schemes to involve five different ball carriers, easily scored on their first three drives. Connolly gave Huntingtown a 7-0 lead with a 1-yard QB sneak; Colin Wargo, who also had an interception on defense, capped off a 10-play, 65-yard drive with a 15-yard sweep to make the score 13-0; and Connolly launched a deep pass to wideout Anthony Smith for a 41-yard touchdown to put the Canes up 19-0 before the end of the first quarter.

“That was big. Right off the bat, we had to go get the momentum,” Friel said. "We’ve done a great job all year of not overlooking anyone and taking any game for granted. I knew from watching film that they were a good team, but I felt like we were the better team. If you give them any incentive to play hard, they’re going to fight like hell.

Wilde Lake’s offense couldn’t capitalize its defense’s solid second-quarter play. The Wildecats defense didn’t allow a score, forcing a missed field goal and two turnovers on downs. Wilde Lake totaled 21 yards and zero first downs in the half.

Advertisement

Wilde Lake football defeated River Hill, 14-10, in the first round of the MPSSAA Class 3A East playoffs.

“That’s a really solid team all across the board,” Henderson said. “We didn’t really have an answer for a lot. I thought we had them pretty well scouted, but we didn’t execute and they did.”

The Canes started the second half fast, as Connolly ran for a 3-yard score and connected with Josh Stokes on the two-point conversion to make the score 27-0. Kuntz then scored the game’s final touchdown from 23 yards out. Wargo’s two-point conversion run put Huntingtown up 35-0 and ignited the running clock before the end of the third quarter.

Wilde Lake had a chance to score at the end of the game, but Jordan Hernandez intercepted a pass in the end zone as time expired to clinch the shutout.

Henderson believes his 10-player senior class — which consists of Jarrett Monah, Cameron Burris, Daniel Jackson, Sam Nason, Izair Perry, Hugo Melgar, Caleb Ferdinand, Nate Unuigbe, Brandon Brown and Jonathan Jones — “planted seeds for success” for future Wilde Lake teams. Despite losing those players, Henderson said the future of Wilde Lake football is “exciting.”

“This will sting for a while, but hopefully that sting will be some motivation,” Henderson said. “We always talk about what it would be like to get to states, and to know you’re two games away from it, hopefully they’ll be motivated and we’ll build on this and get back.”

Box score:

Huntingtown 35, Wilde Lake 0

WL — 0 0 0 0 — 0

H — 19 0 16 0 — 35

Scoring plays:

First quarter

H: Trent Connolly 1-yard run, Bryce LaFollette kick [7-0]

H: Colin Wargo 15-yard run, kick failed [13-0]

H: Connolly 41-yard pass to Anthony Smith [19-0]

Third quarter

H: Connolly 3-yard run, Connolly pass to Josh Stokes [27-0]

H: Noah Kuntz 23-yard run, Wargo run [35-0]

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement