SPRINGDALE – As the thunderstorms dissipated into the night’s sky on Aug. 31, the Charles H. Flowers High School football team burst out of the locker room, motivated to finish off their delayed match-up against the visiting Patterson High School from Baltimore County, shouting in the air and demanding for music to fuel their excitement.
One problem though: the D.J. and public address announcer packed their equipment away and left after the lightning delay was announced midway through the second quarter.
However, motivated to play in the rain, the young Jaguars squad began singing the lyrics of The Temptations’ “My Girl” and warming up to the beat of their own rhythm.
Instead of stopping their flow, Flowers Head Coach Dameon Powell smiled at the unity of his team coming out the delay.
“We have an experienced group of guys that love playing with each other and having fun,” Powell said. “They have been together with four years, and I expect that from them.”
The Jaguars’ chemistry was evident against the Clippers. Offensively, its running attack was unstoppable, rushing for a combined 206 yards. While on defense, Patterson’s option-filled plays were smothered and limited to score two touchdowns. It would take two days, over 19 hours, to finish the delay-filled game but it was worth the wait for Flowers, who punished Patterson, 42-12.
Flowers (1-0) came out striking quickly offensively, scoring touchdowns in their first three drives, to give themselves the early lead. With all the preseason attention centered on senior quarterback Julius Duvall, running back Tristan Shannon proved to be the offensive anchor against the Clippers (0-1).
The junior averaged 7.6 yards a carry, punching through the lanes created by his menacing offensive line, for substantial gains. In the team’s first drive, Shannon drove through an open hole untouched before scampering into a 16-yard touchdown run. He finished with a game-high 92 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
“The (offensive) line was blocking really well, it was really easy to read the holes and take off,” Shannon said. “It makes things a lot easier when the line is blocking, and they work.”
The rushing attack kept Patterson’s defense off-balanced especially as Duvall began to throw the ball in the slop. Despite his low passing statistics, throwing five-for-eight for 99 yards, Duvall was still able to connect to a wide-open Daniel Buchanan in the middle of the end zone for a 25-yard score.
Patterson slot receiver Kuran Johnson provided a spark in the third quarter with a 30-yard touchdown run for the team’s first points of the game. Johnson finished with 82 rushing yards, and two touchdowns, a bright spot for the Clippers as the Flowers defense pressured quarterback Montrea Edwards into two sacks and limited the rest of the offense to 77 total yards.
Thunderstorms would put a hamper in the proceedings, causing an hour-long delay in the middle of the second quarter. Later on, as the third quarter began to whine down, lightning returned to the area, forcing game officials to stop the game. Flowers and Patterson agreed to continue the game the following day, on Sept. 1, in the afternoon.
The weather delay was not enough to stop Flowers, whose aggressive running game continued to penetrate through the Clippers defense.
Junior running back Matthew Sorey looked unfazed in his role as the primary threat, despite not receiving a handoff the day before. The five-foot-one, 135-pound runner bounced off of would-be tacklers with ease and gained extra yardage.
His six carries for 56 yards and an eight-yard touchdown run with 6:10 remaining was enough to keep the clock moving and lead Flowers to their first win of the season.
“I think we came out really strong; we scored every time we touched the ball, and that was very productive,” Duvall said. “With a little more time and reconstruction to our offense, with more schemes, we will be really strong (this season).”
Weather delays did not hamper Flowers’ excitement for the upcoming season as they look to capture the school’s first-ever state championship. The success of the first win of the year, combined with the elimination of first-game jitters, Powell stated that the Jaguars are ready to march through Bel Air on Sept. 7 and every opponent this season.
“We have a couple of running backs that can tout the rock a little bit,” Powell said. “With Duvall passing and a good running game, I think we will be tough to handle.”
See more photos from the game on our photo gallery here!