Crushing defeats have come early and often for the Oakland Mills football team this year.
The Scorpions scored on the final play in their season opener but failed to convert a two-point conversion, which sealed a 29-28 loss to Long Reach. The next week, they led River Hill by seven with less than three minutes to play. The Hawks then scored a touchdown, and after missing the extra point, secured an onside kick that set up the game-winning field goal. Last weekend, they lost 17-14 to Atholton despite throwing five interceptions — to one player.
So, as Oakland Mills built a comfortable lead in its eventual 52-15 win at Mt. Hebron on Friday night, the Scorpions were never satisfied. Quarterback Shallon Robinson and his teammates understand how quickly leads can evaporate, and they didn't want to be on the wrong end of another comeback. To them, even after every touchdown — and there were eight of them — the game remained 0-0.
The scoreboard, meanwhile, displayed a Scorpions blowout.
"We played well at times the previous three games and just didn't finish," coach Tom Browne said. "That's kind of been our message all week — finish, finish, finish — so it was good for the kids."
Robinson, a dual-threat quarterback, beat Mt. Hebron (1-3) with his arm and feet Friday night. The senior completed four of his nine passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, his seven rushes covered 101 yards and included two scores. Junior Jaden Ealey also found the end zone twice on just five carries.
Overall, Oakland Mills (1-3) scored its 52 points on just 31 plays.
"We kept pushing and kept pushing," Robinson said. "We knew the day was going to come when we came out victorious, so we were waiting for it to come."
The Scorpions were equally if not more dominant on defense, returning two fumbles and one interception for touchdowns and holding Vikings starting running back Joey Schwartz to 13 yards on 18 carries.
And if not for the defense, Oakland Mills could have found itself in a significant early deficit.
The unit made a fourth-down stand inside its own 20-yard line on Mt. Hebron's first possession, only to see the offense fumble on its first snap. Three plays later, senior Mark Lettieri connected with senior Peter Karmilowicz for a 14-yard touchdown for the game's first points. Oakland Mills answered with back-to-back three-and-outs.
But late in the first quarter, the momentum changed — for good. The Vikings fumbled for the second time, allowing junior Jalen Knight to scoop up the ball and sprint 40 yards into the end zone.
Mt. Hebron wouldn't score again until Lettieri found Karmilowicz for a 20-yard score to make it 52-15 early in the fourth quarter.
"First quarter we did what we wanted to do," Vikings coach Michael McCarthy said. "Then we start turning the ball over, and we've got no shot, no matter who we're playing."
Up 14-7 in the second period, Oakland Mills added to its lead behind Robinson's 24-yard touchdown pass to senior Kevon Simpson. On the ensuing kickoff, the Scorpions recovered the onside kick. On their next offensive play, Ealey scampered for a 51-yard touchdown.
And after another Mt. Hebron punt, Ealey capped a three-play, 62-yard drive with another rushing touchdown. The scoring barrage spanned seven plays yet changed the game. Mt. Hebron, facing a 26-point halftime deficit, never bounced back.
"It snowballed real quick," McCarthy said. "It just seemed like whatever we did, we couldn't get out of our own way."
The second half featured more theatrics from the Scorpions, ranging from Robinson's 75-yard touchdown run to a 34-yard fumble return touchdown. Knight returned to the defensive spotlight moments later, this time taking an interception 65 yards the other way to cap the scoring.
By that point, the Scorpions seemed to finally relax, knowing their dominant performance would translate into a well-deserved victory.
Oakland Mills (1-3) — 6 27 19 0 — 52
Mt. Hebron (1-3) — 7 0 0 8 — 15
MH: Mark Lettieri 14-yard pass to Peter Karmilowicz, kick [7-0]
OM: Jalen Knight 40-yard fumble return, kick no good [7-6]
OM: Shallon Robinson 1-yard run, Mulbah Kamara two-point conversion good (rush) [14-7]
OM: Robinson 24-yard pass to Kevon Simpson, kick failed [20-7]
OM: Jaden Ealey 51-yard run, kick blocked [26-7]
OM: Ealey 18-yard run, kick good [33-7]
OM: Robinson 75-yard run, two-point conversion failed [40-7]
OM: Dante Hooker 34-yard fumble return, two-point conversion failed [46-7]
OM: Knight 65-yard interception return, two-point conversion failed [52-7]
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MH: Lettieri 20-yard pass to Karmilowicz, two-point conversion good [52-15]