A solid defensive effort and the running of quarterback Treshawn “Snoopy” Ray lifted Dundalk past host Kenwood 22-8 on Friday and evened the Owls’ record at 3-3.
Kenwood entered the game averaging 38 points against teams that weren’t defending Class 3A state champion Franklin (against which the Bluebirds scored six points).
But after scoring a touchdown on the last play of the first quarter to take an 8-0 lead, Kenwood only crossed midfield twice the rest of the game and never went deeper than the Owl 46-yard line.
“We just tried to tackle [Adam Harter] and [Terrance Brown],” Dundalk coach Matt Banta said. “Tackle, tackle, tackle – that was what we emphasized all week. We have some pretty physical kids, and they got in the backfield and did the job.”
Kenwood’s first play of the game, a sweep, went for a five-yard loss. It turned out to be a harbinger of what kind of night it would be for the Bluebird offense.
The Bluebirds rushed 29 times for 121 yards, a four yards-per-carry average that was inflated by four runs that gained 62 yards. On its other 25 carries, Kenwood averaged 2.4 yards.
Harter, Kenwood’s quarterback, had eight carries for 63 yards, including a 27-yard run in the second quarter.
He was also sacked four times for a loss, of 16 yards, and completed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Nukama Korkpan for Kenwood’s only score.
Brown was held to 36 yards on 12 carries. The Owl defense clogged the middle, had the speed to contain sweeps and pressured Harter when he tried to pass.
On offense, Dundalk just put the ball in Ray’s hands.
The senior quarterback rushed for 60 yards and all three Dundalk touchdowns. He also completed five of 11 passes for 115 yards and an interception.
Dundalk finished with 120 yards on 24 carries.
After falling behind 8-0, a good kickoff return started Dundalk at its own 43-yard line.
On fourth and three from the Kenwood 36, Ray scrambled for a first down at the Bluebird 28, and a personal foul against Kenwood moved the ball to the 13-yard line.
Dallion Smith took the ball to the five-yard line, and two plays later Ray scored from one-yard out on a quarterback draw.
Ray also scored the two-point conversion to tie the game at 8-8.
The score remained tied at halftime, and Dundalk took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove 70 yards in six plays.
Ray hit Henry Rohlfs for 15 yards and ran a sweep for 14 yards. A pass to Keyon Garrus gained 39 yards to the Bluebird seven-yard line, and Ray scored on the next play.
Dundalk lost a fumble at the Kenwood seven-yard line early in the fourth quarter, but forced the Bluebirds to punt from their own four.
The Owls took over at the Kenwood 31-yard line, and Ray ran a quarterback sweep to the right side and went the distance.
Kenwood started drives on its own 29, 21, 15, 20 and 36-yard lines. Its best starting field position was midfield after the Owls turned the ball over on downs, its own 45 after an interception, and its own 45 again after a good kickoff return.
“Field position was going to be key,” Banta said. “We wanted to score fast, keep their drives relatively short, and run the clock.”
Dundalk’s last possession started with 5:43 left in the game. The Owls attempted two fake punts during the drives.
The first succeeded, the second gave the ball to Kenwood at its 36 with only 1:42 remaining in the game.
“Harter has a cannon,” Banta said. “We didn’t want to give him more time to take shots down the field.”
Dundalk hosts Towson (3-3) on Friday. The Generals are coming off a 37-8 loss to Franklin. Both teams are still in the running for a Class 3A North regional playoff berth.