Hammond puts county on notice with 35-0 win over Bethesda

September 25, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

Hammond graduated three All-County defensive players, lost another to transfer and returned only two seniors with much playing experience.

So in preseason reports, the Golden Bears were not thought to be a contender.

Yesterday's 35-0 victory over Bethesda-Chevy Chase, however, should open a few eyes and have county opponents a little concerned. League play begins next weekend.

The Bears proved adept at pulling off big plays against the Battling Barons of Montgomery County. And four Bears in particular were outstanding at making big plays -- Tim Spruill, Josh Zillmer, Mike Embrey and Jim Weston. Each had an interception yesterday at Hammond.

Quarterback Spruill's athleticism and scrambling ability already were well known. The Barons geared their defense to stop him. But Spruill completed 13 of 25 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown, and he ran nine times for 56 yards and one touchdown. He threw two interceptions.

"He did a great job keeping us off balance," Barons coach Pete White said. "We tried to contain him outside, but he got passes off when we were right in his face. Hammond was sharp and quick today."

The Barons were also aware of linebacker Weston's ability. He was All-County last season. Against the Barons, Weston made six unassisted tackles, four assisted tackles and one quarterback sack to go with his interception.

But it was two relative unknowns who stepped up and surprised the Barons with noteworthy games.

Embrey, a first-year senior, caught four passes for 52 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds left in the first half that put Hammond ahead 14-0.

Embrey (6 feet 3, 175 pounds) also ran back an interception 12 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter, his first interception. And then he caught a pass for the two-point conversion.

"It was a slant pass [the interception] and we were in the right defense so I was expecting it," Embrey said.

Last but not least was Zillmer, a 5-7, 145-pound sophomore who returned an interception 17 yards for the game's first touchdown early in the second quarter.

Zillmer also threw a halfback-option pass to Spruill for an 18-yard touchdown with three seconds left in the first half. The play was run to the short side of the field and Zillmer threw back to the wide side.

Zillmer was also 3-for-4 on extra-point kicks.

Hammond held the Barons to two yards net offense. BCC was 5-for-17 passing for 29 yards.

Hammond completed 14 of 26 passes for 152 yards and ran 22 times for 90 yards.

"I was a little concerned coming into this game, because BCC had played two 4A schools pretty tough and their quarterback was passing well," Hammond coach Joe Russo said. "So this win is a big mental boost for us. We're still trying to find our identity."

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