Hammond grinds out 6-0 victory over Oakland Mills

Nothing about yesterday's Oakland Mills-Hammond football game resembled art, but at least Hammond got to celebrate after its defense made three second-half stands to preserve a 6-0 victory.

"It was kind of boring for everybody except the coaches," said Hammond coach Joe Russo, whose Golden Bears (5-3, 3-2) ended a two-game losing streak. "We made it exciting. It seems like we make every game exciting. The defense is carrying us."


The game, which featured three turn overs by each team and 11 punts, ultimately was decided by a Hammond defense that earned its fourth shutout by stopping an Oakland Mills offense that has stalled all year deep in enemy territory.

The Scorpions (2-6, 2-3) wasted a fine effort by halfback Damion Smith (33 carries, 128 yards), who out-gained Hammond's offense. After Kelvin Stevens gave Hammond a 6-0 lead with a 7-yard run late in the first quarter, the Scorpions spent the day finding different ways to break down. They blew blocking assignments. They committed costly penalties. They dropped three critical passes in the second half.


"It's been this way the whole year," said Oakland Mills coach Ken Klock. "I don't know if they [the players] expect it [a breakdown] to happen. I can't figure it out."

After a first half in which the Scorpions punted five times, lost two fumbles and managed one first down and 28 yards, they moved the ball successfully. But an offensive mistake or a big play by the Bears' defense repeatedly denied them a score.

Jim Weston (eight tackles, 10 assists), Jimmy Jackson (five tackles, seven assists), Brian Triantafillos (two fumble recoveries) and Kofi Kankam (three batted passes) starred for Hammond.

The Bears' defense won the game down the stretch. Late in the third period, following an interception by Aaron Smith that gave Oakland Mills the ball on Hammond's 24, Weston sacked Scorpions quarterback Chad Fekel on fourth down to squelch the first drive.

Hammond punted after three plays, and the Scorpions drove 35 yards to Hammond's 16. But a holding penalty knocked Oakland Mills into a first-and-20 hole at the 26. On third-and-14, Stevens intercepted Fekel's pass at the 5.

Oakland Mills immediately forced another punt, then drove 30 yards to Hammond's 7. There, on fourth-and-inches with 45 seconds left, Hammond stopped Smith and the Scorpions one last time.

Both teams set the tone quickly. Oakland Mills lost fumbles on its first two possessions, with the second miscue giving the Bears the ball at the Scorpions' 1. But Hammond returned the favor. On second-and-goal, Woodward was tackled for a loss, and he lost the ball, too.

The Scorpions recovered but could not generate a first down. Stevens returned the ensuing punt 20 yards to the Oakland Mills 18. Six plays later on fourth-and-goal, Stevens scored on an end-around play.