The Wildcats’ football team won their first game in their new, renovated Gerald Prim Stadium Friday night, 18-13 over Avalon School of Gaithersburg, Maryland. The game had the feel of an old fashion defensive struggle reminiscent of many decades ago.
The Wildcats played tenacious defense and generated just enough offense to come out on top. With both defenses dominating early, the game remained scoreless through one quarter. In the second quarter, the Wildcats got on the board when Avalon had a snap in punt formation sail over the punter’s head and roll through the end zone for a safety. The Wildcats led 2-0. The Wildcats also survived a fumble to take the 2-0 lead into the locker room at halftime despite having only about 25 yards of offense and no first downs.
It did not take the Wildcats long to get going in the third quarter. Quarterback Ryan Humphries found receiver Jase Thompson open in the secondary and hit him with a 52-yard touchdown pass. With just a little over a minute gone in the third quarter, the Wildcats led 9-0. Minutes later, a field goal went awry and the Wildcats could not pad their lead. Then Avalon struck just like some feared they would. On a pass play, a receiver caught the ball despite good pass coverage and then dashed to the end zone for a TD. The Wildcats lead was trimmed to 9-7 with 5:57 left in the third quarter. Later the Wildcats again threatened to add to their lead as receiver Ryan Humphries caught a long pass from quarter D’Corian Young inside the Avalon 20. As Humphries moved toward the end zone, a Black Knight defender reached in and took the ball away returning it to around midfield. The Wildcats clung to a 9-7 led after three quarters.
Wildcats kicker Angel Tavera kicked a field goal and the Wildcats upped their lead to 12-7with 7:55 left in the final quarter. On the subsequent kickoff, Avalon appeared to take the lead on an apparent 76 yard kickoff return. An officials flag wiped it out. Avalon Coach Tyree Spinner argued the call so strongly, he too was flagged. The Wildcats again forced Avalon to give the football up on downs. Young then threw a touchdown pass to Austin Dodd and the Wildcats led, 18-7. After the Wildcats missed another field goal that could have padded the lead, Avalon scored a late TD on a quarterback run that reduced the lead to 18-13 with just over a minute left in the game. The Avalon onside kick was unsuccessful. The Wildcats ran out the clock to take the 18-13 win.
The Wildcats go to 2-0 for the season. It’s their best start since 2009 when the Wildcats opened with five straight wins. Avalon is now 1-2 for the season. Next the Wildcats will play Paris on Homecoming at Gerald Prim Stadium this Friday. During pregame ceremonies Friday night, four skydivers landed on the field with one of them bringing the game football with him.