Sunday, September 6, 2009

Knights go to ground in win over Barons

Wheaton defeates B-CC 29-12 Friday, coach receives Gatorade shower in first win

by Ian Quillen Special to the Gazette

Joe Ortega shook off a Gatorade shower while his Wheaton football players frolicked to every corner of their home field after a comfortable 29-12 victory over B-CC Friday night that felt anything but.

And even though Ortega hopes wins on Randolph Road turn into a regular thing, he does not dare take his players down a peg when practice reconvenes on Monday.

"We don't stay even," said Ortega after winning the inaugural game of his varsity head coaching career. "We're like this all the time. It's excitement all the time. We try to have fun every game."

Yet it was a level-headed approach that brought the Knights back from an early deficit in their season opener; an ethos that betrayed Wheaton's past as one of the area's weaker teams.

Rayshawn Taylor ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries to help the Knights overcome 66 penalty yards and a momentum-killing third-quarter fumble.

Taylor's 8-yard touchdown run, coupled with Mac Juniorson's conversion run, put Wheaton up 8-6 early in the second quarter, and his 41-yard dash off right tackle made it 23-12 early in the third.

And a dangerous defense recovered after giving up a 63-yard touchdown drive on 10 consecutive running plays to start the game, capped by Chuck Banks' 1-yard TD plunge.

"Yeah, they ran on us, but it's not like it was the end of the game," said senior defensive end Anthony Randle, who saw Wheaton go 2-8 as a junior and winless as a sophomore. "It was the beginning of the game. Stuff happens sometimes. … We picked each other up."

B-CC quarterback Casey Fitzgerald was 5 for 8 for 114 yards, including a 40-yard slant over the middle to Terrance James that cut it to 16-12 with 2 minutes, 16 seconds left in the first half.

Fitzgerald threw for 53 yards on the game's final drive, but only after being intercepted by K.C. Kreinbihl on the only play of the previous possession, setting up Wheaton's insurance touchdown.

"I was watching and I just sank back," said Kreinbihl, who snuck inside the intended receiver on what looked like a quick slant. "The quarterback didn't see me because I sank low. I saw the pass and I just jumped on it."

With possession at the 50, Taylor carried six times in a nine-play drive. But it was Juniorson who ran 7 yards on a fourth and 3 at the 31, and Juniorson who plunged up the middle from 5 yards out to make it 27-12 with 1:09 to play.

Juniorson finished with 63 yards on eight carries. Ricardo Mcleod ran for 109 yards on nine carries for Wheaton, getting 55 of that on one carry before breaking a 20-yard touchdown run on the same drive to make it 16-6.

Banks finished with 43 yards rushing and a late 43-yard reception. He gained 60 of B-CC's 83 offensive yards after halftime, as the Barons simply wore down against one of many deep opponents they will face this season.

Wheaton outgained B-CC on the ground, 408-70.

"We had a lot of guys really exposed to their first varsity football game," said first-year Barons coach Rich Noland. "They played their butts off, and they grew up tonight. They pushed through what they thought was their limit. … I'm proud of that effort."

The Gazette
9030 Comprint Court
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

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