OXON HILL – With less than 10 seconds remaining and the game wrapped up in his team’s favor, Oxon Hill High School cornerback Rod Chapman Jr. wanted to end it on a high note. As Northwestern High School quarterback Emil Medina, dropped back to pass a touchdown attempt down the field, the junior was ready.
Chapman jumped over the intended target and two of his own teammates for the interception and began to spirit the other way. No Northwestern tackler was close to him as he arrived in the end zone for the 93-yard return for a touchdown for the Clippers.
“When I went up in the air, I knew I had to get it, and soon as I came down, I just took off running,” Chapman said. “I did not have a pick in the season, just in scrimmages, so I knew I had to get one for my team.”
The junior could not help but dive into the waiting arms of his teammates, who presented him with their version of a turnover chain. Chapman stood with his arms in the air, taking in the cheers from the packed audience.
The interception capped off a stellar second-half performance by the Clippers. After trailing two different times in the first half, Oxon Hill scored 21 unanswered points in a dominating display over their 4A rivals, sending the large Homecoming crowd home happy as they defeated Northwestern 51-21 on Oct. 18.
With the win, Oxon Hill (6-1) sits in second place in the 3A South despite having to face all 4A county teams in the regular season. The team has quickly adjusted to playing their county rivals and Head Coach Craig Jefferies said he loves their performances thus far this season.
“The guys have stood up to the challenge,” Jefferies said. “We were a 4A school at one time, and we want to still compete with those guys when we can, and this puts us in the best situation for the 3A playoffs and preparing us to play tough physical teams.”
Meanwhile, it would be Northwestern who earned an early lead and limited Oxon Hill to only a field goal during the first quarter. The Clippers finally responded at the start of the second half when running back Dallas Simmons rammed his way through for a 1-yard touchdown to take a quick 10-6 advantage.
With less than 90 seconds remaining in the half, Northwestern recaptured the lead following a fumble recovering by linebacker Zechariah Joseph. Two plays later, Medina, who normally plays as a wide receiver, threw a 35-yard pass into the end zone to junior Dagostino Saintal for the touchdown, making it 13-10.
However, Oxon Hill fired off a quick drive of their own, marching down the field in four plays and entering halftime with a three-point lead after quarterback Robert Montgomery punched in from 1-yard out for the score.
The Clippers scored on two passing plays in their first two offensive drives to start the second half. First, Montgomery made a tight throw into the middle of the end zone to find wide receiver Malik Baker for the 5-yard touchdown.
With 3:12 remaining in the third quarter, Montgomery threw to a diving Jaden Byrd for the 8-yard touchdown to push Oxon Hill’s lead into the double digits. The junior finished throwing for 323 yards and three touchdowns.
Northwestern did not have any responses on how to stop the Clippers offense while limiting the impact of their defense. As the fourth quarter began, Medina threw two incompletions to end an eight-play drive on a turnover on downs at the 36-yard line.
Oxon Hill took advantage of the free drive with a drive dominated by running back Kimon O’Sullivan. The senior, who finished with 242 all-purpose yards, rushed through with a 1-yard touchdown and a 51-yard reception for another score within a three-minute span. It was a good outing for the running back, who had been hampered with injuries all season.
“I knew (Jefferies) would give me the ball in the second half because he believed in me,” O’Sullivan said. “I came out and did what I need to do. It is just good to be back.”
Medina attempted a comeback with deep passes but was ultimately intercepted twice in the fourth quarter. Free safety Hakeem Johnson’s interception in the middle of the fourth quarter came at an unfortunate time for the Wildcats, who still thought that they had a chance to tie the game. However, Oxon Hill proved to be too much for the injury-riddled team, Head Coach Bryan Pierre said.
“What hurts us is numbers, and what hurts us is injuries,” Pierre said. “We have been beaten up by injuries; we had a couple of guys went down, a couple of guys that played through some minor injuries… in the second half, they gave it what they could, but then they ran out of gas.”
For Oxon Hill, the win showed they are ready to fight back when necessary as they continue to gain favorable experience before the state playoffs. According to Jefferies, Oxon Hill still has not played its best game yet but did enough in the second half in order to win the game.
“We need to be prepared to get into some tough games like tonight,” Jefferies said. “There are some tough, talented teams out there and defensively, we need to find out our weaknesses, offensively, we have to get away from our tendencies and play Oxon Hill football.”