In a game that was almost over before it started, the FBUNC Metro Maryland team defeated the team from Northern Virginia, blanking them 34-0 and advancing to the championship game of the Atlantic region bracket.
Motivation was a huge factor in the Northern Virginia loss, as Northern Virginia head coach Brandon Smith said the team seriously underestimated the might of the Metro Maryland team.
"I think [the team] came out in the first half already thinking they were going to play tomorrow at 6pm," Smith said. "They didn't think they were going to have to play hard, and that's a tough mentality to overcome."
Metro Maryland player Anthony Wilson, who scored in the first quarter on an eight-yard off-tackle run said he had no problem walking into the end zone.
"It was like they weren't trying to tackle me," Wilson said.
Metro Maryland head coach Pat Parise said he saw Northern Virginia's attitude early on and was able to exploit it.
"Their players didn't want to run, they didn't want to catch," Parise said. "We had plenty of talent out there and our guys did it."
Metro Maryland was dominant on both sides of the ball from the outset, scoring on their first two drives.
The team's first offensive possession was driven predominately by running back Joachim Bungda, who broke a 52 yard run that set up his 18 yard TD carry one play later.
"It felt great," Bungda said. "The field felt good and I got to make some good plays."
Metro Maryland's special teams unit came up big on Northern Virginia's possession after the Wilson TD run, blocking a punt. Metro Maryland's Robert Foxx fell on the ball in the end zone and brought the score to 22-0.
Metro Maryland continued to steamroll, scoring on a 30 yard TD pass from quarterback Zachary Garcia to receiver Nicholas Wilson, a drive which was set up by an interception by Metro Maryland's DB Anthony Thomas.
"The throw was a little short, but I knew the defender was short, so I leaned over the top of him to grab it," Wilson said of the TD reception. That's the type of play I can make."
To add to their frustration, Northern Virginia's offense was marred by penalties and blown assignments. The offensive line was jittery and drew several false start penalties that negated their gains and sapped their momentum.
Smith told his team after the game there were a lot of players lining up in the wrong positions and receivers running incorrect routes, which led to missed opportunities and two interceptions thrown by quarterback Casey Blankinship.
"That's pretty typical of a team that doesn't get to practice a whole lot together," Smith said, adding the team practiced a total of nine times before the game. "These kids come from all over -- some as far as Culpepper -- and it's tough to get some of those things figured out."
Northern Virginia entered the second half with serious momentum, starting the third quarter by recovering an onside kick that was made possible by a monster hit by Kameron Adams. The drive was kept alive by a brilliant read-option run from Amante Evans, who began to take the pitch around the left side of the line, but reversed field and brought it back to the right side and pick up enough for a first down.
The drive faltered, however, following yet another false start penalty and a monster sack on Blankinship by Metro Maryland's Matteo Degennaro that forced Northern Virginia to turn the ball over on downs.
Metro Maryland's victory means they advance to the next round and will play Team Maryland Sunday in Alexandria, Va for the Atlantic region championship.
Written by Youth1 Contributor Sam Hedenberg
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