There were high fives.
There were hugs.
There were cheers.
There was a dousing of the head coach with icy water from the water cooler.
But most of all, there were smiles from the Mountain Ridge players and coaches and fans Friday night at Greenway Avenue Stadium.
It wasn’t a state championship. Wasn’t a league championship. Wasn’t even a homecoming game. But veteran head coach Roy DeVore, with 132 wins under his belt, called it one of the biggest of his 20-year career.
It’s been a long time since Mountain Ridge saw a scoreboard at the end of a football game look like the one at Greenway did. When the clock hit all zeroes, not only did the game end, but so did a losing streak that surely had tested the patience of everyone in the program to some degree.
It started with a 27-12 playoff loss at Boonsboro in 2011, continued through an 0-10 season in 2012, reached a dirty dozen with a 28-6 loss at Jefferson two weeks ago, and sat at 13 entering the game against Allegany.
A little over two hours later, the streak was ancient history, and for many big reasons.
• Rashawn Johnson put on one of the finer performances in stadium history with 292 yards of total offense — 258 yards rushing, 34 passing — and scoring 26 points with four touchdowns and a two-point conversion. He now has 555 yards of total offense in the last two games.
• Big plays, on both sides of the ball.
Johnson had two incredible runs, showcasing power and speed on both, a 62-yard TD run in the first half and a 53-yard run in the second.
The offense converted 7 of 10 third downs, ran for 343 yards and finished with 407. That’s 765 yards of offense in the last two games for the Miners, who had lost at Hedgesville 61-35 the previous week.
• The Miners defense, which had given up 89 points in two games, allowed only 21, had four takeaways.
None were bigger than the ones by Ian McCormick, Brandon Redmond and Matt Whetstone.
McCormick forced a fumble and ran 62 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter; Redmond intercepted a pass in the third that led to another; and Whetstone picked up a fumble near midfield and returned it to the Allegany three to set up a third touchdown.
All came with Allegany driving in Mountain Ridge territory.
“This was Mountain Ridge’s night,” DeVore said. “I have to agree with that 100 percent. We got the breaks. They all went our way. I’m really proud of the kids because I think we made the breaks. But we had some luck, too.”
This Mountain Ridge team was on a mission Friday night. The Miners weren’t among the many who thought it to be a mission impossible.
“We’ve been telling our kids forever that they’ve got to believe in themselves. And tonight they did,” said DeVore. “And they showed it here, at Greenway Avenue Stadium. It’s so gratifying to see the kids perform, doing what they know they can do, and having it in their hearts to do it.”
Last year, the Miners were outscored 440-62, and lost to Allegany 58-0.
Friday night’s win was about much more than avenging a loss or stopping a streak. It was about being rewarded.
It was a reward for the coaches and players for sticking with it and not giving in or giving up when times were difficult. And it was a reward for the fans, who did the same, never giving up and always being supportive. Those fans were there for Friday night’s game, just as they had been the previous 13.
The offensive line was consistant and effective. The defensive line’s quick surges caused problems much of the night.
“We preached to the kids (about overlooking them) ... Mountain Ridge had played two really good triple-A teams. They came out and were hungry. I think they outplayed us up front and that’s the difference in the ball game,’’ said Allegany coach Tom Preaskorn.
They’re a hungry bunch, all right. Friday night, they looked like they were starving for a win.
They got it. And while no one’s putting the Miners in the playoffs just yet, there’s little doubt their next win will come much quicker than the previous one.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at email@example.com
There were high fives.
Life on earth survived some really close calls
Last year at this time, there was a lot of talk about the world ending on Dec. 21, 2012. Of course, nothing of the sort happened — otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this column!
A man should never argue with a redhead
Capt. Gary tells people we do living history. 1Sgt. Goldy usually adds, “With all due respect, sir, we ARE living history.”
Fort Hill’s approach is all-inclusive
After Fort Hill opened everybody’s eyes last season in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year (*1), it was a pretty sure bet that the Sentinels, given all of their returning resources, would be making a run for the state championship this year (*2).
What resource will the O’s allocate next?
In November 1993, Dan Duquette, then the general manager of the Montreal Expos, traded second baseman Delino DeShields to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a young pitcher by the name of Pedro Martinez. According to a story in last Sunday’s New York Times, upon completing the deal, Duquette, now general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, told Neal Huntington, then a member of the Expos front office and now the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, “This trade is going to be hated in Montreal.”
In this case, words represented Beem’s deeds
In May 1970 Bob Beem was elected president of the Fort Hill Pep Club, an organization that was supervised by my mother, Colleen Burke, an English teacher at Fort Hill, and had as many as 200 members in any given year.
Vivian Helsley dominates ladies tourney
A number of big sets were rolled this past week with Travis Shreve’s 763 at the Bowler leading the area. Bobby Lannon had 758 featuring a 289 game at Rainbow Lanes, Buck Lease had 753 at Rainbow while Curt Mullenax shot 753 at the Bowler. The week wouldn’t be complete without a Yates family update. It was Derek’s turn this week with a 300 game at Rainbow.
A lot of American soldiers were there
Gettysburg’s annual Remembrance Day parade commemorates a short speech President Lincoln made there, incomplete versions of which are said to be found in the Lincoln Memorial itself and President Obama’s recent recitation of it.
What life is found on the deep ocean floor?
I recently purchased “Oceans: A Visual Guide” by S. Hutchinson and L. E. Hawkins. “Oceans” is a Firefly book, published in 2008 with ISBN 13-978-1-55407-427-3 (paperback).
Old houses and furnaces and a different world
Nine houses and four dorms. That’s how many places I have lived in my lifetime, and I remember each of them, well, not vividly but with great fondness. Not a one of them was a bad experience, in fact, good things happened at each place. (Bad things too, but that’s life.)
Dave Yates rolls 787
Dave Yates again led area bowlers with a 787 series at the Bowler which featured a high game of 280. Troy Cubbage fired 767 at White Oaks, and Bobby Lannon and Todd Simpson shot matching 757 sets while Tyler Mansfield had 755 at Rainbow. Chad Gable shot 740 featuring a 290 game on the “shark” pattern in the PBA League at White Oaks.
- More Columns Headlines
- Life on earth survived some really close calls