Hammond High football coach Joe Russo's Golden Bears allowed a total of 88 points last season, and he was banking on a nearly intact defense to carry the team this season.
After yesterday, he'd better re-evaluate after a 41-0 loss to Southern of Anne Arundel County.
Hammond's defense failed to force Southern into punting even once.
Every time Southern needed a big third- or fourth-down play, it converted. The Bulldogs used their superior speed and remarkable first-half execution to repeatedly sting the Bears for long touchdowns. The score was 27-0 at halftime.
Chief among the game-breakers was senior running back and defensive back Jamar Mullen. He broke loose for big-play touchdowns offensively and defensively.
Mullen scored Southern's first touchdown on a 34-yard pass play that capped a 66-yard opening drive. It was fourth-and-2 when Mullen caught a short pass and outran two defenders.
Southern scored on its second possession when another game-breaker, Wayne Small, caught the first of his two touchdown passes from quarterback Joe McCafferty. It was on a third-and-7 situation and was good for 54 yards. Contee's extra point made it 14-0.
Hammond then launched a 71-yard drive to the 1-yard line, only to be frustrated by another Southern big play.
On fourth down Mullen stepped up to intercept a pass and he returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. The play broke a 26-year-old Southern school record for the longest interception return. The previous record was 86 yards by Gill Girton in 1967.
A 48-yard Hammond drive followed, but it ended with a missed 35-yard field-goal attempt.
Southern then clinched the victory with a 13-play, 82-yard drive that culminated with Contee's 2-yard touchdown run on third down. Following an offsides penalty against Southern, Contee missed the extra point, but it was still 27-0.
bTC McCafferty was nearly perfect, completing seven of eight passes for 160 yards and four touchdowns.
Severn 34, John Carroll 6
John Vereen and Fred Macaraeg scored two touchdowns each to lead a dominating Severn running attack past John Carroll (0-1) at Severn.
Vereen, a junior, rushed for 225 yards on 26 carries and Macaraeg had 13 rushes for 123 yards. The Admirals (1-0) rushed for 413 yards and had 444 total yards.
Aberdeen 26, Pikesville 6
Nick Johnson ran for touchdowns of 35 and 5 yards as Aberdeen (1-0) defeated host Pikesville (0-1).
Lonnie Bishop ran for 105 yards on 12 carries for Pikesville.
G. Counsel 28, Mt. St. Joe 18
Eddie Pailen rushed for 128 yards and scored a touchdown for Mount St. Joseph, but it wasn't enough as the Gaels (0-1) lost their opener to visiting Good Counsel (1-0).
Atholton 13, Northeast 6
Senior running back Carlando Love scored on a 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to lead Atholton (1-0) to a come-from-behind win over Northeast (0-1).
Senior quarterback Jason Albert headed the Raiders' run-and-shoot offense and tossed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Matt Treese in the third quarter.