BRANDYWINE—After a disappointing 0-2 start to the season with losses to the Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. Pumas and Riverdale Baptist Crusaders, the Frederick Douglass Eagles bounced back strong by getting their second win in a row while on the road against the Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets. The Eagles had not won a game on […]
BRANDYWINE—After a disappointing 0-2 start to the season with losses to the Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. Pumas and Riverdale Baptist Crusaders, the Frederick Douglass Eagles bounced back strong by getting their second win in a row while on the road against the Gwynn Park Yellow Jackets.
The Eagles had not won a game on Gwynn Park’s field in the last four seasons. But in this game, Devin Butler and the Eagles’ defense delivered in what would be a decisive 37-8 victory over the Yellow Jackets.
Butler, who scored four rushing touchdowns in the game and rushed for 206 yards on the day, said he played with plenty of emotion throughout the game because of trash talk between both sides. He knew he had to be on top of his game, he said, and so did the rest of the team.
“Our line did a hell of a job today. And the defense was outstanding today,” Butler said. “In my four years, I’ve never won at GP. I’ve never won at this field. We got it done today.”
Butler, who is committed to play at the University of Maryland next year, scored three rushing touchdowns in the first half of play and compiled 98 yards on the ground in the first half alone. Butler’s longest run of 63 yards came on a quarterback keeper play in the first half. On second and long, Butler dropped back and the Eagles’ offensive line cleared a lane for him. Butler made a few moves in the open field before being pushed out of bounds by a Gwynn Park defensive back.
Though Butler and the offense had a great night, the Eagles’ defense stole the show. Though they gave up 223 total yards, they did not allow an offensive score throughout the game. The Yellow Jackets’ only score came from a 72-yard interception return by Tyjah During.
Butler missed Myles McCoy on a short post route and During caught the interception to take the ball to the house. The score came with the Yellow Jackets down 30-0 and less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The defense came up big against the Yellow Jackets, Butler said, because of the film study the Eagles put in the week before. They studied the routes their receivers ran, he said, and they were bound to turn the ball over.
“I don’t know how many picks we had, but our DBs were on it. Our defensive linemen knew (quarterback) Aaron Parker is a very hard quarterback to contain. They took that challenge,” Butler said. “People have been telling them that like they couldn’t get him. They really played their hearts out today.”
Overall, the Eagles’ defense had three interceptions. Defensive back Ke’Shawn Hall caught two interceptions in the first half to put Douglass in position for two of their scores. Hall returned one interception for 57 yards into the redzone. Corner Jerrod Williamson also caught an interception in the second half.
Parker had 104 rushing yards on the day, but he was sacked three times by Douglass’ front seven, threw two of the three interceptions and only completed six of 17 passes for 56 yards. Gwynn Park’s offense struggled to get into any rhythm early on and never managed to climb back into the game.
The Yellow Jackets could not stay out of their own way. Along with the three turnovers, they also had nine penalties for 95 yards. They also allowed a late onside kick return by Jacardi Brooks to put Douglass on the Gwynn Park 11 yard line in the fourth quarter. Running back Thomas Myers bullied his way into the end zone for a score on the very next play.
Overall, Eagles Head Coach Julius Pinkney said his team is getting close to getting back where they were last season. They are still searching for the right 11 players to play on the field at a time, he said, but games like this show him who can play together.
Even with the two early losses, he said, the Eagles are in a better place than they were two weeks ago and are a better team because of their early struggles.
“I knew the Wise and the Riverdale game were going to make us a better team in the long run. You can learn a lot from a loss. You don’t like to lose, but you can learn a lot from it,” Pinkney said. “When we watched the tape, there was no give up in our guys. And we got better.”
The defense has had a “bend but don’t break” mentality this season, Pinkney said. While that is not ideal, and is still a work in progress, he said he sees the defense continuing to improve.
The Eagles needed just that in the third quarter with a 23-0 lead over the Yellow Jackets. Gwynn Park had two opportunities to score in the redzone, but were forced into two straight turnover-on-downs possessions to close the quarter out.
That, Pinkney said, helped the Eagles close the game out. After they made their stops, the Eagles set the tone for the rest of the game.
“We’re a defense that may have to play the entire length of the field to get a stop,” Pinkney said. “That was a huge boost. We told our guys at halftime, we think we can break their will if we get a stop. And we got a stop.”
The team is heading in the right direction, Pinkney said, and as they continue to get healthier throughout the season they will get better.
Douglass 6 17 7 7
Gwynn Park 0 0 0 8
D-Butler 5 yard TD run, 6-0
D-Butler 4 yard TD run, 12-0
D-Butler 23 yard TD run, 20-0
D- Butler 33 yard field goal, 23-0
D-Myers 9 yard TD run, 30-0
GP-During 72 yard interception return, 30-8
D-Myers 11 yard TD run, 37-8