Patapsco debuted a new running-oriented offense against host Dundalk last week, intending to run the clock, shorten the game, and keep the Owls’ offense off the field.
Running the ball was a good idea, because when the Patriots tried to pass ... bad things happened.
Dundalk intercepted five Patapsco passes and returned three of them for touchdowns in a 35-8 victory on Friday.
Ironically, Patapsco did keep Dundalk’s offense off the field – where it stood and watched the Owl defense score as many touchdowns as both offenses combined.
In the span of four plays in the third quarter, Dundalk’s Treshawn Ray returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown and Greg Hollis had a 64-yard return.
The Owls, who had led 7-0 at halftime, increased their lead to 21-0.
Two plays after Hollis’ pick-six, Patapsco lost a fumble at its own 43-yard line. That led to a 33-yard touchdown pass from Ray to Patrick Ellis and a 28-0 lead.
In the span of 11 plays, a close 7-0 game had become a 28-0 romp.
Patapsco intercepted two Dundalk passes, recovered an Owl fumble and blocked a punt – and didn’t turn them into any points.
The Patapsco defense held Dundalk to nine yards rushing and 64 yards passing – and wasn’t on the field when the Owls scored the majority of their touchdowns.
All but one Owl score was set up by, or came directly off of a Patapsco turnover.
The exception was Dundalk’s first possession of the game. Starting at midfield after a Patriot punt, the Owls took a 7-0 lead with a nine-play drive.
There were two fourth-down conversions during the drive: Ray ran for 25 yards on fourth and seven from the Patapsco 35, and he hit Ellis for a touchdown on fourth and goal from the Patriot four-yard line.
Dundalk’s drives for the rest of the game covered minus-18, 7, 0, 3, 43, minus-30 and minus-5 yards.
One of the reasons was penalties: the Owls were penalized 14 times for 128 yards (Patapsco: eight for 50 yards).
“It’s painful,” Patapsco coach Tyler Clough said. “We showed we were a good enough defensive team that we could not only hang with them but beat them.
“We forced four turnovers and should have won the game, but we didn’t because of the pick-sixes.”
It was Dundalk’s 11th straight win over Patapsco, but the Owls’ shutout streak over the Patriots ended at four games when Patapsco scored in the third quarter for its first points against Dundalk since 2014.
A long kickoff return by Sean Yoon after Dundalk took a 28-0 lead started Patapsco at the Owl 14-yard line. A.J. Ratliff scored three plays later on a six-yard run.
The Patriots blocked a punt on Dundalk’s next possession to start at the Owl eight-yard line.
A score could have made it a two-touchdown game with practically the entire fourth quarter still to play. But Dundalk’s Marcus Nicholson intercepted a pass in the end zone.
The Owls went three and out, and Patapsco started its next drive at the Dundalk 41.
The Patriots reached the Owl two, again threatening to make it a two-score game, but Nicholson again intercepted a pass in the end zone and this time took it 102 yards for the clinching score.
Dundalk’s defense held Patapsco to 58 yards rushing and 13 passing yards.
The Patriots came out in a new formation they had not used in any previous game this season.
“We call it the ‘Speed T,’” Clough said. “It’s a unique version of the double wing, just less complex and with less pulling. We thought it gave us the best chance to beat them, and we really had a shot.”
Dundalk’s first pick-six (by Ray) came two plays after Yoon intercepted Ray on the Owls’ first possession of the second half. The next came on Patapsco’s third play after the ensuing kickoff.
Yoon had a second-quarter interception that started Patapsco at the Dundalk 39. Strangely enough, Ray also responded to throwing that pick by intercepting a Ratliff pass.
It was the fourth straight win for Dundalk (5-3) and assures the Owls of a playoff berth. Dundalk finishes the regular season at Perry Hall (0-8) on Friday.
Patapsco, which has lost five straight since a 3-0 start, will attempt to end the season on a winning note when it hosts Loch Raven (7-1) on Saturday.
Sparrows Point (2-6) kept its playoff hopes alive with a 41-25 win over visiting Chesapeake on Friday. The Pointers travel to Hereford this Friday.