When his Oakland Mills football squad got off to an uncharacteristic1-3 start this season, you might have expected Coach Ken Klock to bea little concerned that his team was fading right out of the playoffpicture.
"I really wasn't worried at that point," he said. "We could just as easily have been 3-1."
The Scorpions gave their coach little toworry about Saturday as they collected their fifth win in a row witha 32-13 rout of host Atholton.
Oakland Mills now stands at 6-3 (5-1 in Howard County Class 2A), and is still in the hunt for a playoffberth.
"We had some bad breaks at the beginning of the year," said wide receiver Gregg Washington, who caught four passes for 104 yards and three touchdowns against Atholton. "But now we've got everybodyback healthy."
Injuries might have been part of the reason, but plain bad luck could be blamed as well. The Scorpions lost to Linganore by four points and to North County by only one. Only their 21-0 loss to powerful Wilde Lake could be classified as a clear-cut defeat.
Klock also doesn't believe in padding his non-conference schedule with weaker teams. Playing teams like North County and Linganore mightresult in a loss, but it also means the Scorpions will be prepared once conference play begins.
"We feel if we beat these kind of people it makes us a better football team," Klock said. Better is not theword. During its five-game winning streak, Oakland Mills has outscored the opposition, 155-44.
Atholton has been a bit of a surprise this year as well. With outstanding senior quarterback Brian Van Deusen presiding over the newly installed, no-huddle, run-and-shoot offense, the Raiders had run up a 5-3 record.
Even though they had a size advantage over the Raiders, the Scorpions knew they had to concentrate on stopping Van Deusen. Coming into the game, he was the second-ranked passer in the metro area with 1,378 yards and 17 touchdowns.
"If you give him time to sit back there, he'll pick you apart," saidKlock.
Oakland Mills did indeed shackle Van Deusen much of the afternoon, holding him to just 9 completions in 23 attempts for 90 yards. They also sacked him five times and intercepted him three.
"Physically, they were a little bigger than we were," said Raiders assistant coach Jim Albert.
Most teams are. On their 26-man roster, the Raiders have only one player over 200 pounds.
"Starting out, I didn't think we'd win a game," said Atholton head coach Don Van Deusen, who installed the run-and-shoot offense out of sheer necessity. "And we're not going to beat a team like Oakland Mills."
It was Senior Day at Atholton, but the Scorpions quickly dampened the enthusiasm when they took the opening kickoff and swept 60 yards on 11 plays with Jeff Herbert scoring from the 1 for a 6-0 lead.
The Raiders managed to keep things interesting for a while. After Washington scored on a 12-yard pass from Antwan Baker at the beginning of the second quarter, Van Deusen found Brian Hannah down the left sideline for a 57-yard touchdown to cut the margin to 12-7 at halftime.
The Raiders could pull no closer in the second half. Their only moment of glory camein the third quarter when, with Oakland Mills leading, 24-7, Carlando Love returned a kickoff 95 yards to make the margin 24-13. But moments later, Baker and Washington teamed up again, this time on a 61-yard scoring pass.
Oakland Mills ran 60 plays and gained 298 yards. Atholton was held to 42 plays for 118 yards.
"They're an outstanding team," Coach Van Deusen of the Scorpions. "They can run, they can pass. How they lost three games is amazing."