Easter Goose-Egg: Rhinos get shutout in Germantown
SILVER SPRING, Md.- Lloyd Welford nabbed his first interception of the season, and Michael Small set a personal best with a 40-yard catch, but the Rhinos couldn’t overcome Andre Brown’s 5 touchdown passes, as they fell 32-0 to Germantown, on Easter Eve at Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreational Park.
However, not even 5 turnovers, nor netting 0 yards of total offense, could break apart the family that is the 2016 Hanover Rhinos.
After an emotional game that saw a combined 14 penalties for 135 yards, and ended 50 seconds early because of boiling tempers, the Rhinos players stuck together.
With several scrums breaking out on the field after the final play, many Rhinos players acted as peacemakers, guiding teammates away from the fire, and a few moments later, after everyone settled down, both teams went through the handshake line without incident.
Head coach Ben Davis’ post-game talk saw the whole team gather together and actively listen to what was being said.
In an inspirational moment, the smallest player on the team, Danny Wonder, asked to lead the post-game breakout. Travis Garretson hoisted Wonder into the air to meet the circle of Rhinos’ raised arms, and Wonder led the teams’ battle-cry.
“I’m praying for (a close team),” Davis said. “I want guys that eat together, sleep together, and get ready every day together, no matter what. I want them to be able to fight on Monday, fight on Tuesday, fight on Wednesday, and to want to pick their chicken gizzards up and fight on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, too, that’s what I want.”
The Rhinos (1-2) offense showed a lot of fight during the first drive on Saturday.
Quarterback Amir Pearson, who started, broke a tackle in the backfield and ran for 8 yards and a first down before the drive bogged down.
On the next play, miscommunication on the direction of the handoff broke DeAnte Weldon’s momentum, and he scrambled backwards trying to escape before losing 15 yards.
Jordan Banks’ 32-yard punt netted zero yards when Richard Foreman, Jr. returned the kick back to the Hanover 17. Jason Landis saved a touchdown with a big hit along the sideline.
Three plays later, Gabe Wayne got a knee down in the back of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown. Quarterback Andre Brown’s pass was intended for Foreman, Jr. in the front corner of the end zone, but, while Brown rolled right, his pass drifted toward the middle of the end zone.
Jordan Gardner helmed the next drive for Hanover, and it was a three-and-out. Hanover would not pick up another first down until the fourth quarter. It had 3 first downs for the game.
Germantown’s (2-0) next drive started at the Hanover 36. It ended with a missed field goal.
Holder Victor Calderon hauled down a high snap, but David Savage’s 36-yard attempt banged off the inside of the left goalpost, halfway up.
When Pearson returned for drive three, he threw two incompletions and lost 17 yards on a fumbled snap.
On the third play of the second quarter, Brown showcased pinpoint accuracy when he lofted the ball over safety Jack Isennock and into the hands of Foreman, Jr. at the two, for a 31-yard touchdown, and Germantown led 13-0.
Jordan Banks’ 41-yard punt put a live ball on the Germantown side of the 50 for the first time in the game. The ball tipped off Foreman, Jr.’s hands and rolled to the 15. He picked it up and raced up to the 28-yard line where he was leveled by Isennock.
Brown tossed up a deep ball from the Germantown 38, looking for Dustin Thompson. Isennock settled under the ball, and Welford also had a lock on the ball.
Welford reached up and snagged the pigskin, falling over Thompson immediately after.
“Well, I saw the receiver get past our corner, so I just got on my horse, and just ran backwards,” Welford said, “Then, I just looked up and located the ball, and my hands took care of the rest.”
Thompson was injured on the play, but returned to the game later.
Victor Hall picked up the first of his two sacks for Germantown on the next play. Then, Alex Isennock got a finger to a high pass by Gardner, potentially saving an interception.
Lindsay Murray made a basket-catch for an interception at the Hanover 34 on third down, but Germantown came up empty when Savage missed a 48-yard field goal attempt short.
Amir Pearson caught the ball and paused, looking at the back judge, before realizing the ball was live, and he returned it 34 yards to the Hanover 25.
A personal foul on Andre Joppy advanced the ball to the Hanover 40, and Hanover had 48 seconds until halftime to move the ball.
However, Hall jumped Gardner’s pass in the flat, tapped it, caught it, and took off down the sideline, his eyes on the end zone. Jordan Banks chased him down at the 1.
With 25 seconds and 1 timeout, Brown took to the air. He rolled right, and aimed the ball into the low window. Hall went to his knees, scooped the ball, and curled up on top of it for the touchdown.
Germantown led 20-0 at the half.
Foreman, Jr. burst down the middle of the field, and Brown found him for a 36-yard touchdown, his fourth of the game, early in the third quarter.
The extra point was an adventure, as Savage scooped up the high snap and ran back 40 yards along the Germantown sideline. Then, he raced across toward the Hanover sideline, and made one defender miss before being planted by Jeremy Renoll at the 34.
Mike Myers and Leo Vinson recorded interceptions for Germantown on the next two Hanover drives.
Hanover took possession at its own 33 with 10:00 left in regulation, with -46 yards of offense to its credit.
Hanover picked up its 1st first-down in 49 minutes of game action on a 5-yard keeper by Pearson, however, he was knocked out of the game with an injury on the play.
Gardner entered and warmed up immediately with a 40-yard strike to Small. Small fought off a hold by the corner, jumped and caught the ball, and almost wrestled away for his third touchdown of the season, on his third catch of the year.
The next snap went to Gardner’s right, and Dion Anderson recovered for the Gladiators.
Brown’s fifth touchdown pass was a 65-yarder to Wayne, on a blown coverage on 2nd-and-29 with 50 seconds to go.
Brown threw for 209 yards, and Germantown outgained Hanover 278-0.