Oakland Mills runs streak to 5

Scorpions use defense, running game to dominate Long Reach in 26-0 win

Football

October 28, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Sometimes, what you say matters less than how you say it.

"I'm looking at the state champions right here," Oakland Mills coach Ken Hovet told his football team after a convincing 26-0 win over Long Reach yesterday.

True or not, Hovet's words showed swagger. And at Oakland Mills, swagger matters.

"I don't see anything stopping us right now," said Scorpions lineman James Violand, a 6-foot-3, 265-pound senior who was out early in the season with a broken bone in his leg. "We're healthy and we're playing great. My leg still hurts sometimes, but it hurts a lot less when we win."

That Oakland Mills has rebounded from a 0-3 start to its season is old news. That the Scorpions (5-3 overall, 5-2 county) dominated the Lightning (5-3, 4-3) with a powerful running game and strong defense to win their fifth straight is what matters for the moment.

Oakland Mills running back Justin Barnes rushed for 246 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Greg Braukus ran for two more scores as the Scorpions made the game a rout by the start of the fourth quarter. On defense, the Scorpions bottled up the Lightning's running game and made three crucial interceptions when Long Reach then tried to move the ball through the air.

"Our goal every game defensively is to not let someone score on us," said Braukus, whohad one interception. "We made interceptions when they were making kind of long drives and it totally killed their momentum."

Braukus may not be the flashiest player, but his emergence at quarterback has been a big factor in the Scorpions' revival. After playing receiver the first three games, Braukus stepped in at quarterback. The Wing-T offense has since blossomed, averaging 33 points a game.

"I guess maybe we just needed a change of pace," Braukus said. "Maybe I provided a little more leadership up front. Whatever it was, it feels real good right now."

On a windy and cold day, Braukus used the elements to help Oakland Mills earn its first score of the game. After Long Reach's defense stuffed Oakland Mills early in the second quarter, Braukus booted a 67-yard punt with the wind that pinned the Lightning inside its 10-yard line. After a defensive stand and a poor Lighting punt into the wind, Oakland Mills took advantage of the short field and made it 6-0 on Barnes' 20-yard touchdown run.

Barnes then made it 13-0 two plays into the third quarter by breaking a tackle and flying down the right sideline for a 78-yard touchdown run, made possible in part by nice blocks from Vernon Hampton and Corey Felder.

"I really think that run broke their backs," Braukus said. "It gave us all the momentum to start the second half and we just rolled with it."

Long Reach had some success running the ball behind fullback Davon Gilmore, but Scorpions lineman Shawn Fredrick recovered a Long Reach fumble midway through the third quarter, and Braukus made it 20-0 with a 2-yard touchdown run.

"Long Reach has a lot of size, but we thought we might have a quickness advantage," Hovet said. "I think we used that today. We scored when we had the wind to our back, which was a big key as well. I think if we just keep improving, we'll be tough to beat."

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