Smyrna's football game Friday against Brandywine may have started off slow and ended slow, but the parts in the middle were full of excitement as the Eagles won their first game of the season 31-17 over the Bulldogs.
Brandywine was the first to put points on the board with a 34-yard field goal in the second quarter, as both sides went scoreless in the first quarter. Smyrna wasn't two far after with a 22-yard field goal off the foot of kicker Andrew Gilbert. Shortly thereafter is when the fun began.
The Eagles scored two quick touchdowns in a matter of minutes, after forcing the Bulldogs to fumble twice. Both times running back Maurice McFolling would go on to score, the first a 35-yard pass from quarterback Jordan Kiger and the second on a 6-yard run. McFolling's second touchdown brought the score to 16-0; Senior Michael Vavala ran in the endzone to complete a two-point conversion on a pass from Kiger bringing the Eagles to a 18-3 lead.
Brandywine went on to score their first touchdown of the night off an 11-yard interception by sophomore Troy Staker, shortening Smyrna's lead to 18-10. But with one more Eagles touchdown before the first half was over bringing the score to 24-10, the damage had already been done.
Both teams would only score once in the second half - Smyrna in the third quarter and Brandywine with just seconds left in the game.
Coach Clay Lloyd was happy with the team's performance, which was a step up from last weeks 47-19 loss to Middletown.
"Anytime you get your first win of the season, it's always a great feeling," he said. "It's kind of that monkey off your back. Guys figured out a way to win and it's always a good feeling for them."
Lloyd gave props to the Bulldogs defensive line, which he said features some really good football players. The Brandywine defense line gave Smyrna a little bit of trouble, but Lloyd said the Eagles changed their game plan a little and played better. He said the team was effective in throwing the ball and it didn't hurt that McFolling had a great game. McFolling not only had three touchdowns but two interceptions playing on defense.
"A lot of people really just came together," Lloyd said. "We obviously have some things we need to work on but I'm very, very proud that we came together. We got it done. It doesn't matter who your opponent is, you've still got to perform and we did that."
And while there are plenty of good things to look at in the win, Lloyd said the team will get back to work on Monday.
The 1-1 Eagles are on the road next week with a game at Laurel Friday, Sept. 21.
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.