April 23, 2018

No. 8 Damascus rides offensive line to pull away from Blake, 41-17

SILVER SPRING — On Friday night, the defending MPSSAA Class 3A state champion Damascus Swarmin’ Hornets went on the road and against Blake, putting its 28-game win-streak on the line. After a test in the first half, Damascus eventually pulled away in the second half behind its experienced offensive line to push the streak to 29 games in a row, 41-17.

Four of five offensive linemen return from last year’s championship team, including Wake Forest commit Michael Jurgens. The Hornets also have one of the top prospects in the Class of 2020 — defensive end Bryan Bresee.

At times, the offense seemed unstoppable, as the line paved the way for 277 yards on the ground. Running back Gage Dickens took advantage of holes the size of semi-trucks, eating up 160 yards on 19 carries. Dickens also scored twice.

“Oh my God, it’s amazing” Dickens said about running behind his experienced offensive line. “The holes are gigantic and I’m just the one that’s running through them. They’re killing it upfront.”

T.D. Ayo-Durojaiye came on late to put the game away, rushing for 60 yards on eight carries down the stretch.

The offensive line wasn’t the only thing that clicked for the Hornets. Damascus’ defense played at a high level as Blake quarterback Terrill Simms accounted for 117 of his 152 passing yards on two plays. The Hornets front-seven, led by Bresee, pressured Simms all night and there were no holes for the outside run game.

In response to how he plans to keep the team’s momentum from the previous year’s, Damascus coach Eric Wallich said, “We have always done that: Take one team at a time and treat every opponent the same. It’s awesome. We know those guys are tough. They responded tonight and showed what they could do and it’s a nice safety blanket knowing whenever we need them we can line up behind the ball and run behind them.”

For those who don’t know, Damascus hasn’t lost a game since the 2014 Class 3A state title game against Franklin. They’ve also won 42 of the last 43 games.

“It’s a tradition,” Dickens said. “We’ve got to keep the streak alive. We have to play for the people who have passed through and have a season just like them.”

Damascus looks goes for its 30th straight win next Friday at home versus ranked Sherwood.

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