Defending State Champs Rout Watkins Millby MoCoFootball Staff on 09/19/16
Darian Holmes, Staff Writer
Although the game was relatively competitive in the first quarter, defending state champs Damascus high school showed why they are the team to beat. University of Richmond commit Markus Vinson showed why he is a division-1 caliber athlete. Vinson's two touchdowns were complimented with three touchdowns by Elijah Atkins. The Vinson-Atkins combo is arguably the best one-two punch in the area. Even on the defensive side of the ball, Damascus shined. Despite the athleticism and skill of Watkins Mill quarterback Markel Grant, the constant defensive pressure put his rhythm off-kilter. In the second quarter, Grant was forced to make difficult passing decisions, in which one of these instances led to an over-the-shoulder interception by Vinson.
Credit should be given to both teams playing hard following the nerves during the national anthem protests, later followed by a frightening injury for Watkins Mill's punter Ginino Mattocks. Mattocks' helmet collided into the three Damascus defenders while trying to salvage a botched snap. The injury led to 20 minutes of relative silence while everyone waited for Mattocks to be carted off in an ambulance. Thankfully, Mattocks gestured a thumbs-up to the crowd before he entered the ambulance. Serious injuries are one of the things we all hate to see in the game we love. Football is an amazing sport, but it has its dangers. Hopefully there will be an effective solution when it comes to safety, especially at the youth and high-school level.
By the beginning of the second half, Damascus had a 44 point lead, which was never really threatened throughout the remainder of the game. When asked about his feelings following the big win, Elijah Atkins said "I like it a lot...I got a chance to prove myself more than in other games." The stats show that Damascus has a strong running game as well as a solid passing attack. As the season heats up, Damascus will have to remain sharp if they want to win another state championship.