Oakland Mills passes first test, wins 34-19 Air attack, defense help overcome Elkton


September 06, 1998|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

By blitzing on every play and employing man-to-man pass coverage, Elkton dared Oakland Mills to throw.

And the Scorpions, not noted for their passing game, responded favorably yesterday at Oakland Mills, as quarterback T. J. Welsh completed eight of 11 passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-19 victory.

"This was a big win because we've been losing our openers the past couple of years, we just missed making the playoffs last season and we think we have a shot at states this season," Welsh said.

The opening day victory ended a streak of two straight opening day losses, and came against a team that had made the Class 1A playoffs last season.

Never mind that the Scorpions (1-0) made five turnovers and rushed for only 60 yards. This was a feel-good victory in which Oakland Mills erased a 13-0 Elkton lead, and displayed a defense that could carry it a long way in that Class 1A state championship race.

"Even though passing was big today, defense carried us," Welsh said. "Everyone, but especially guys like Joey Ellis, A. G. McCray and Nick Fambro -- and Vinnie [Rubbo] before he got hurt -- played well on defense."

Welsh's favorite passing target was Thomas Browne, who made five catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

"They blitzed four guys all the time, so it was impossible to run inside," Welsh said. "And I was getting only three drop steps [for passing], but Tom had a big height advantage and we were able to take advantage of it."

Browne, a senior playing only his second season of football, said: "The fade [pass] was working, so we just stuck with it."

Elkton (0-1) of Cecil County geared its defense to stop Rubbo, who rushed for a school-record 1,873 yards last season.

"They blitzed so they could stop the misdirection and get Vinnie before he got started," coach Ken Hovet said. "Elkton was pretty aggressive and not bad."

Rubbo (35 yards, seven carries), last season's Howard County Offensive Player of the Year, sprained his left ankle on the first play of the second quarter and left the game immediately. He ran the ball only two more times.

"It hurts, but hopefully I'll be ready for Wilde Lake next week," Rubbo said.

Like Oakland Mills, Elkton made five turnovers. The mistake-prone Elks also snapped the ball over its punter's head twice, once for a touchback and once a blocked punt.

With Oakland Mills leading 21-13, Scorpions lineman Lance Adams caught an Elkton fumble in mid-air and raced 40 yards for a touchdown to break the game open. Fambro caused the fumble.

Brian Holly made a sensational one-handed interception to set up Oakland Mills' next touchdown, a 12-yard run by Julian Barfield.

Neither team mounted a substantial drive. Every score was set up by either a turnover or special teams' mistake. Elkton passed for 76 yards and rushed for 110.

Pub Date: 9/06/98

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