LUSBY, Md. — With Calvert County bragging rights and the top seed in the 2A-1A South Division on the line, the Calvert Cavaliers (8-1) handed the Patuxent Panthers (8-1) their first loss of the season on Friday, 19-14, on Senior Night at PHS.
Both teams were looking to propel themselves into the playoffs on a high note, knowing that the winner would likely earn the 1-seed in the South Division of Class 2A-1A. The top seed would also mean that the winner would avoid a possible matchup with Prince George’s County power, Frederick Douglass in the Regional round.
Calvert received the ball to start the game, and was able to take advantage of their initial possession. The Cavaliers moved down the field little-by-little, but the Panthers defense was able to make a stop when it mattered. Calvert was held to a 30-yard field goal by kicker Keith Baker to take a 3-0 lead.
Patuxent took their initial drive deep into Cavs territory, but came up short in the red zone as quarterback Evan Blouir’s pass fell incomplete. The Panthers would also face a similar fate early in the second quarter, driving deep downfield once more, but again failing to convert a 4th down pass.
With points clearly at a premium in this tough matchup, the Panthers found that the third time truly was the charm. On their third long drive of the game, Patuxent was the first team to cross the goal line, on a 1-yard rush from Blouir. The Panthers took a 7-3 advantage with just under three minutes before the half.
But the Panthers were not done yet. Patuxent got the ball back and threatened the end zone once more in the final seconds before halftime. But, Blouir’s pass was tipped by Calvert’s Domaine Wallace and intercepted in the end zone by Brunsie Carrington. The interception ran out the clock on the first half, and the Panthers had to settle for a 7-3 halftime lead.
Midway through the third quarter, Calvert quarterback Dajuan Robinson found receiver Keegan Thorne open deep downfield on a long 59-yard pass. Thorne was tripped up right before the end zone, but his reception setup a short Robinson pass to Damon Mansfield for the Cavs initial touchdown of the game. The extra point gave Calvert a 10-7 lead.
After stopping Patuxent once more with their stout defense, Calvert’s Domaine Wallace broke a big 50-yard rush down the sideline to set up the Cavs in great position to score once again. Wallace powered through the middle of the line and across the goal line to extend the Cavaliers lead to 17-7 right at the end of the third quarter.
As the teams exchanged punts, Patuxent was able to get a drive going when it mattered most. Daiquan Buck scored on a short run which pulled the Panthers back to within three, 17-14, with just under five minutes remaining.
Calvert got the ball back, with Patuxent desperately needing a stop to get the ball back. The Panthers would eventually get the stop they needed to regain possession and try to put together a game winning drive.
But, the field was completely flipped by Baker, who also punts for Calvert. He got off a 60-yard punt which pinned the Panthers back to their own 10-yard line with two minutes to play. That huge shift in field position proved to be too much for Patuxent to overcome.
The Cavaliers defense toughened up, knowing they had Patuxent backed up against their own end zone. After forcing an incomplete pass, Calvert pressured Blouir, who was forced to throw the ball up at the last second to avoid a sack. The officials determined that there was no receiver in the area of the pass, and Blouir was called for intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety for Calvert, and a 19-14 lead which would not be relinquished.
Patuxent attempted an onside kick off of the safety kick, but Calvert recovered and was able to run out the clock on an impressive victory. The Calvert players celebrated on the field and near the bleachers with their fans, knowing that they had just handed their cross-county rivals their first loss of the season.
Both Calvert and Patuxent will enter the playoffs next week with a strong chance of making a big run through the 2A-1A playoffs. Will we see these two teams face off again along the road to Annapolis?
Playoff seedings are released on Monday by the MPSSSA, and both teams will find out their next opponents at that time.