Mike Kraus wanted to see something from his South Carroll football team in the second half of Friday afternoon’s game against South Hagerstown.
The first-year coach said he asked the Cavaliers not to give up despite a 38-point deficit at halftime, which meant the second half would be played with a running clock unless SC got the point differential under 35. Still, Kraus had goals in mind.
“I”m not totally bummed out, because I like the way they finished,” Kraus said after breaking his team’s post-game huddle. “I asked them at halftime to show me a little bit of character, a little bit of grit.”
Dylan O’Neill was listening.
The junior defensive back took it upon himself to heed his coach’s words, or at least go down trying.
South Hagerstown used its big first half to cruise past the Cavs 44-0 at Western Regional Park (the game was moved from Parker Field to utilize one of the park’s two turf fields).
South Carroll fell to 1-2 and couldn’t build on last week’s win over C. Milton Wright, while South High improved to 2-1 and played its second Carroll team in as many weeks. But unlike their Week 2 matchup with Westminster, which the Owls rallied to win by one point, the Rebels kept scoring Friday.
South running back Jayswah Sanon broke off touchdown runs of 28, 39, and 78 yards — all in the second quarter — and had his team in control of this one early.
Rebels quarterback Tim Townsend had a pair of rushing touchdowns in the first half as well.
South Hagerstown’s speed was too much for the Cavaliers to overcome, but O’Neill said things got a little better in the second half.
“At halftime, Coach really brought us back up,” O’Neill said. “I think our team really came together and played a lot harder in the second half than we did in the first half.”
Part of that had to do with a much shorter second half, but O’Neill and his defensive mates made their share of plays throughout the contest.
O’Neill had two blocked extra points and recovered a fumble after a punt.
Senior linebacker TJ Hogan made a big tackle on a fourth-down play deep in SC territory midway through the first quarter, keeping the Rebels from scoring early.
Junior linebacker Sebastian Sanchez came up with a nifty defensed pass late in the second quarter.
O’Neill’s fumble recovery came early in the third quarter, but South Hagerstown held on defense and South Carroll failed to convert a fourth-down pass from its own 38.
Mkamba capped the Rebels’ next drive with his touchdown run.
South Carroll has one more non-Carroll matchup, next Friday at Southern-Anne Arundel County, before county play begins Sept. 28 with a home game against Winters Mill.
The Cavs are trying to bounce back after a 2-8 record last fall. Kraus and his players understand the turnaround is likely to take some time, and during the rebuild they’re focused on improving themselves.
“Our motto this year is ‘Be A Part.’ Everybody has got to do their job,” O’Neill said. “Take every play one play at a time, try our hardest out there like it’s our last play.”
South Hagerstown 13 25 6 0 — 44
South Carroll 0 0 0 0 — 0
SH-Tim Townsend 7 run (kick blocked)
SH-Naeem Watson pass from Townsend (kick missed)
SH-Jayswah Sanon 28 run (kick missed)
SH-Sanon 39 run (Oshane Thorpe kick)
SH-Sanon 78 run (Thorpe kick)
SH-Townsend 8 run (kick blocked)
SH-Salim Mkamba 10 run (kick missed)