THE CHAMPS ROLL
They scored on offense, they scored on defense, they dominated on the ground and dazzled through the air. And when it was over, defending state 3-AA champion Southern pitched a 41-0 shutout Saturday over visiting Capitol Christian Academy from Landover, Maryland.
First-year coach Darius Robinson tucked a satisfying debut win in his pocket and said there was no time to celebrate. Sunday would be film day, and Monday back at practice to prepare for traditional rival Hillside.
Also on the agenda is keeping his talented players grounded so that his powerful team doesn’t grow overconfident.
“We’re going to stay humble and hungry. The trophy’s in the case, the rings you don’t wear much anymore. But you can’t live off of 2013. It’s a whole different team,” Robinson said.
“We have to establish a whole different goal, and that is to get a second ring. We pretty much have a phrase that we use: ‘One team, one dream, two rings,” he said. “Staying humble and hungry will allow you to get that second ring.”
Although the Spartans easily overpowered the Warriors, Robinson said it was still a valuable, early season game. It allowed the team to get its game tempo clicking, concentrate on avoiding offside and holding penalties, getting blocking assignments right, and crystallizing the timing between quarterbacks and receivers.
“Also, we developed some depth tonight. Everybody played tonight, and everybody played a substantial amount of time,” Robinson said.
“It’s good to get blowouts,” said standout quarterback Kendall Hinton, who was 7 for 11 with 212 yards passing and two touchdowns, but “we definitely see stuff we need to work on as a team.”
Hinton, a Wake Forest verbal commit who didn’t throw an interception, said the Spartans showcased “a strong running game” with an offensive line capable of blowing holes open. He said the passing game still needs some work. “At this point we’re probably about 90 percent.”
But his passing was golden on a second quarter, 84-yard pass play to senior wide receiver Aaron Hirsch, a transfer from Chapel Hill.
“I’ve never had anything that big before in my career,” Hirsch said.
“I saw the linebacker line over the top of me so I knew the safety was going to be over,” Hirsch said. “It was just a perfect ball by Kendall.”
Hirsch hauled it in over his shoulder near midfield, and the race was on. Teammate Will Cameron, who’ll be playing at West Virginia in the Big 12 next season, threw a key block to keep the play alive.
“I saw the safety coming over the top and I knew somebody was behind me. I just took an inside step, I got tripped and just kind of put the ball over the line and it was six,” Hirsch said. “Right when I put it over the line the ball came out, but when the ball goes over it’s a touchdown.”
That wasn’t the only big pass play.
On Southern’s next series Hinton hit Cameron in stride down the right sideline for a 63-yard score. As Cameron approached the end zone, a host of defenders closed in on him, but he zigged this way to shake some, zagged that way to elude others, and used his foot fakery to punch it in.
Senior cornerback Marvin Tillman also got in on the scoring parade in the second quarter. He turned around in time to settle under a bomb from Capitol Christian quarterback Reggie Robinson as though he was a center fielder awaiting a towering fly.
He tucked the interception away and bolted down the sideline like an electric current racing through water, cutting to the center with 20 yards to go and waltzing in untouched.
Senior kicker Leonardo Orozco got to put his booming foot on display. Aside from pinning the Warriors deep after every kickoff, he booted field goals from 31, 33, and 35 yards. He narrowly missed one from 46.
“He was actually hitting from 53, 54 yards” in practice, Robinson said. He gave Orozco several opportunities to kick the field goals because “I want him to get his confidence early,” he said.
“We teach for post-season play, championship seasons,” Robinson said.
“I tell them, ‘We’re going to need a field goal to win a game. We may need a field goal to win a state championship. If the snap is not good, the hold is not good, the kick is not good. We’re going to lose the game,’ ” he said. “Now is the time to start focusing on that.”
SOUTHERN 41, CAPITOL CHRISTIAN 0
Capitol Christian 0 0 0 0 — 0
Southern 13 19 6 3 — 1
S—Leonardo Orozco 31 FG, 11:01
S—Jordan Brown 1 run (Orozco kick), 9:11
S—Orozco 33 FG 0:55
S—Marvin Tillman 78 interception return (conversion failed), 9:28
S—Aaron Hirsch 93 pass from Hinton (kick failed), 4:27
S—Will Cameron 63 pass from Hinton (Orozco kick) 1:22
S—Brown 4 run (kick failed), 8:43
S—Orozco 35 FG, 8:50
RUSHING — Capitol Christian, Reggie Robinson 7-22, Davon Julien 5-19. Southern, Jordan Brown 7-35, Myron Frazier Jr. 7-48, Kendall Hinton 4-22, Jalen Greene 2-15
PASSING — Capitol Christian, Reggie Robinson 6-25-4 69. Southern, Kendall Hinton 7-11-0 212.
RECEIVING — Capitol Christian, Maurice Lewis Jr. 4-66. Southern, Aaron Hirsch 1-84, Will Cameron 2-72, Jason Henderson 2-37, Jordan Brown 1-11, Kaleb Barfield 1-8.
SACKS — Southern,Tahj Spivey 2, JaJuan Garvin .5, Davanta Brandon 1, Crushaun Reid 1, Christian Howze 1, Kevin Palmer 1.
INTERCEPTIONS — Richard Banks 2, Marvin Tillman 1, Kyshaun Teet 1.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES — Richard Banks 1, Roosevelt Holding 1.
Records—Capit0l Christian 0-1, Southern 1-0.