By Jeff McQuilkin
Fumbling and losing the ball on the opening kickoff is often a sign that you’re in for a bad day. But that was not the case for T.C. Williams High School on Saturday as their stingy defense helped secure a 14-8 victory for the Titans (4-2) over rival West Potomac (3-3) at Parker-Gray Stadium in Alexandria.
The turnover on the kickoff gave West Potomac a first down on the Titans’ 24-yard line, but they were unable to convert the opportunity into points. T.C.’s defense set the tone for the day by stopping West Po on 4th and 1 to end the drive.
Later in the first quarter, Titans senior quarterback Diondre Charlton rushed for the game’s first touchdown. The extra point attempt failed, resulting in a 6-0 lead for T.C.
West Potomac tied the game with 10:25 remaining in the second quarter. After an offside penalty against the Titans on the first extra point attempt, West Po went for and converted a two-point attempt to take an 8-6 lead.
But that would be the Wolverines’ last trip to the end zone. With four minutes left in the first half, the Titans’ defense stuffed a West Potomac 4th down attempt at the 1-yard line, sending the Titans into the locker room at halftime still down 8-6.
A costly defensive pass interference penalty against West Potomac in the third quarter gave T.C. a first down at the Wolverines 17 yard line. T.C. would go on to convert a 4th and 1 attempt at the five-yard line and then score what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown with three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Charlton’s pass to senior wide receiver Terence Sakyi for a two-point conversion was good, giving the Titans a 14-8 lead.
The Titans controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the game, especially in the fourth quarter when they used that advantage to pound the ball up the middle time after time, helping the Titans maintain possession of the ball on a long, time-consuming final drive to end the game.
Head Coach James Longerbeam talked about what he told the team when they were down by two points at halftime.
“I told them we were fine. We were right where we wanted to be because we always win ugly,” Longerbeam said. “Our kids are just getting better – they’re just fighting. We’ve still got to learn how to win. But they’re doing a good job.”
T.C. hosts the 4-2 Hayfield Hawks this Saturday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m.