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Backup QB Darrius Sample accounts for 7 TDs as Dundalk routs Kenwood

Darrius Sample didn't start at quarterback Friday for Dundalk.

Once entering the game late in the first quarter, however, the athletic junior wasted little time in finishing off Baltimore County-rival Kenwood, scoring four touchdowns on the ground and passing for three others as the visitors rolled to a 45-6 win in the season-opener for both teams.

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"I had to step up and do the job when the quarterback went down," said Sample, who started at wide receiver last season. "I had to come in and make plays."

After taking over at quarterback on his team's third possession, when senior starter Duron Ball hurt his hand on a tackle, Sample played a leading role in helping the Owls score the game's first 32 points.

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He finished with 230 yards rushing on 11 carries, and also completed nine of 14 passes for 180 yards.

It was a strong start for an Owls team trying to rebound from a 5-6 record last year, when they got off to a 5-2 start only to lose their final four games.

"Last year we were really young and didn't know how to finish," Owls coach Sean Sandora said. "This year, in the summer, we just put an emphasis on finishing everything, whether it be on the field, in the weight room, with conditioning. … I return a lot of kids from last year's team, and a lot of kids got playing time."

This one never was in doubt.

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After moving the ball but stalling on each of its first two drives, Dundalk took the lead in this one by taking advantage of a special teams mistake.

On a punt from deep in Kenwood's own end, the snap sailed over the head of punter Johoe Vonty, who recovered in the end zone and ran it out to the 2. On the next play, Sample lunged forward for a touchdown.

The Owls struck again on their next possession, when Sample faked a handoff, rolled to his right and took off untouched down the sideline for a 74-yard score.

With the Bluebirds unable to move the ball on offense, Dundalk then quickly got the ball back, and once again took advantage.

This time, after scrambling for a gain of 22, Sample lobbed a pass to Renard Nicholson, who out-jumped a defensive back to haul in a 15-yard touchdown pass, extending the lead to 18-0 just before halftime.

Dundalk's offense outgained Kenwood, 134 to minus-32 in the half.

Kenwood finally got on the board late in the third quarter, capping a 63-yard drive — its best of the game — when Shane Chavis scored from 7 yards out around the right side.

But this night belonged to Dundalk, and its young quarterback.

"Darrius is a very athletic young man, and he's got a strong arm. I was very confident, because he's led this team in the summer," said Sandora, who will put off the decision about next week's starter at quarterback for at least a couple days. "We're going to see how Duron's thumb heals over the weekend and make a decision from there."

NOTE: This was the Week 1 Ravens RISE High School Football Showdown. To vote in the Week 2 poll, click here.

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