Oakland Mills football coach Ken Hovet knew in the preseason that the Scorpions' first three games against out-of-county opponents would tell him exactly where his young and inexperienced team stood.
After yesterday's 16-0 loss to Thomas Johnson of Frederick County, the Scorpions (1-2) are a team in dire need of offense as the county schedule kicks off next weekend.
Thomas Johnson (3-0) took advantage of several Oakland Mills' mistakes and turnovers to compensate for its own offensive woes. The Patriots' defense limited Oakland Mills to just 16 total yards in the second half and 89 for the game.
"We really had a hard time getting things going offensively and when we did move the football it seemed that a mistake just came out and killed us," Hovet said.
Operating out of the wishbone, Oakland Mills' first series showed great promise. Junior tailback Jake Draft (15 carries, 58 yards) took two handoffs for 10 yards before Scorpion senior quarterback Chad Fekel (5-of-14, 35 yards) connected with junior split end Sam Smith for a 12-yard gain and a first down at the Oakland Mills' 43.
On the next play, Fekel was hit from the blindside by a blitzing Thomas Johnson linebacker. The ball was jarred loose and was recovered by Patriots junior lineman Steve McCarthy.
Oakland Mills only once moved inside the Thomas Johnson 20.
"Our foolish mistakes have got to be eliminated," said Draft. "We moved the ball early, then missed some blocks and they got the sack and the fumble."
After recovering Fekel's fumble, Thomas Johnson marched 34 yards to set up place-kicker Richie Perry's 27-yard field goal that gave the Patriots a 3-0 lead with 8:03 left in the first quarter.
Oakland Mills' defense was stingy, however, as the Scorpions contained Thomas Johnson's top running back Bill Helm (14 carries, 73 yards), who had 450 rushing yards coming into the game.
The Scorpions' defense thwarted an early second-quarter drive by Thomas Johnson when defensive end Marc Lineman stripped the football from Patriots quarterback Colby Cloude at the Scorpions' 27 and defensive end Lang Wethington recovered.
"Defensively, we didn't play too bad, but offensively we stunk," Thomas Johnson coach Ben Wright said. "To win any more games we'll have to execute far better and stop having guys coming off the field with excuses."
Thomas Johnson manufactured a time-consuming 13-play, 74-yard drive that concluded with Helm's 2-yard touchdown with 2:06 left in the first half.
Oakland Mills' poor snap on a late third-quarter punt attempt forced Scorpions punter Brady Walker to scramble from his own end zone before being tackled by the Patriots at the 4. Two plays later, Thomas Johnson's Mike Gosmen scored from the 1.
"It still was a positive game coming off last week's 32-0 loss," said Hovet. "I thought we showed good effort, but Thomas Johnson just outmanned us."