Walkersville Brunswick Football

Walkersville’s Gavin Hughes connects with Jeremiah Franklin on an 18-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter for the first touchdown of Friday’s game. Attempting to break up the pass is Brunswick’s Isaac Herbert.

WALKERSVILLE — At a time of year when making big plays in the big moments is becoming more important, Walkersville did just that Friday night.

In a 28-13 homecoming win over Brunswick, the Lions scored a touchdown on third-and-10. They capitalized on a botched punt for a score. They found the end zone in the final 10 seconds of the first half and then on fourth-and-3 in the fourth quarter.

“It’s critical,” Walkersville coach Joe Polce said of playing well when it matters most. “We are right here at playoff time. It’s important to be playing your best football at the end of the season.”

With one game remaining in the regular season, the Lions are 6-2 and vying for a first-round home game in the Class 2A West playoffs. They will host archrival Middletown (6-2) next week in a game that will go a long way in deciding just that.

“They’ll be tough. I mean, they always are,” said Walkersville junior and first-year starting quarterback Gavin Hughes, who completed 9 of 20 passes for 168 yards, including touchdown passes of 18 and 25 yards to senior Jeremiah Franklin and junior Collin Sewell, respectively, in the win over Brunswick.

“No matter if they are amazing, and we’re terrible, or we are amazing, and they are terrible, Middletown is always a tough game.”

Brunswick, meanwhile, lost for the second consecutive week to fall to 5-3 overall. The Railroaders travel to play winless Catoctin next week and hope to secure the No. 2 seed and a first-round home game in the 1A North playoffs with a win.

“We played tough, not well,” Brunswick coach Jerry Smith said of his team’s latest effort against Walkersville. “I thought our defense responded well from last week [in a blowout home loss to Middletown].”

The pivotal sequence for Walkersville occurred in the final minute of the first half.

After forcing Brunswick to go three-and-out, the Lions took over at the Railroaders’ 43, leading by seven, with 17.2 seconds left in the first half.

Hughes was in the shotgun with three receivers, including the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Franklin, a Boston College recruit, in the formation.

Though they use this look in practice regularly while running two-minute drills, this was the first time the run-heavy team had shown it in a game this season.

Hughes took the snap and then fired a deep pass over the middle that senior Micah Hess, who has a nose for the ball on offense and defense, ran under to snag. He was dragged down just short of the goal line with a little more than 10 seconds remaining before halftime. The Lions had to use a timeout to stop the clock.

“We had it covered,” Smith said. “We just lost it in the light.”

On the very next play, senior Jae Sean Fulton darted right up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown with 7.9 seconds left to extend the Walkersville advantage to 21-7.

“That was huge,” Hughes said of that scoring sequence. “[Brunswick] had momentum. It was a one-possession game. I saw [Hess] out there and threw it up, and he made a good catch on it.”

Brunswick recaptured the momentum right at the start of the second half, as it marched 64 yards in five plays to pull within 21-13. The quick drive was capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by junior Muhamed Jallow.

Walkersville then blocked the extra point.

It was the last great scoring chance for the Railroaders.

Walkersville added a late score when junior Collin Sewell took a swing pass from Hughes on fourth-and-3 from the Brunswick 25 and darted into the end zone to essentially put the game away. The Lions led by 15 points with 9 minutes, 49 seconds to play.

“I thought we did great,” Polce said. “Brunswick was a tough team. It was a fourth-quarter battle. I am really proud of how our kids played. I thought we executed pretty well on both sides of the ball.”

Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter: @greg_swatek

(2) comments

DickD

Right now, If i was doing the ranking:

1 Linganore they have won every game, didn't look good against Middletown but managed to squeeze by with kick off returns that won the game for them.

2 & 3 2 and three because both Frederick and Middletown look fairly equal, although Middletown squeezed by with a two point win. Middletown's 1st string quarterback got injured in the game against Oakdale and Middletown lost to Oakdale. Now, Chearis has taken over as the first string quarterback and doing very good. He is an excellent runner and his passing is improving, along with Middletown's pass defense improvement - they had to improve it because everyone was passing them to death. They need to focus on that some more as Middletown's running defense should be able to stop Walkersvile's running game.

4 Walkersville they have a powerful running game, just not the best runner in the County or the best passing game.

Oakdale? Maybe 5th

DickD

What surprised me about this game was the score. Walkersville is rated better than Middletown, but Middletown blew Brunswick out. That same thing happened when they played Catoctin. I am really wondering about the ratings. And now Oakdale has four losses and is rated higher than Middletown.

The article is right about records not meaning much when Walkersville and Middletown play each other. They are both good teams and it is usually a real close game. Still, if you just look at comparable scores Middletown should win by about 15 points. I guess we will have to wait and see.

What will be most interesting is Walkersville has a strong running game. Middletown is best against the run. And their weakness, pass defense is fast becoming a strength. Ask Catoctin. And Middletown has a very good running game of their own. Their weakness has been passing, but that too is improving and even though Smith is the best runner in the County, there are others that can burn you too.

It should be a good game, rain is forecast, don't know how that will affect the game.

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