You can tell a lot about a team in how it responds after a tough loss.
Following a 35-34 defeat to Digital Harbor, Patterson’s football team bowed up defensively and earned a 20-6 victory over Carver on Friday. The Clippers opened the game flat, failing to move the ball much in the first quarter.But the defense sparked the Clippers with eight points in the first half. First, a group effort forced a safety, which was followed by an interception for a touchdown by cornerback Taqile Muhammad.
“Hard work pays off,” Muhammad said. “We were working hard every day. Every practice, every day.”
That was the mantra last week as the Patterson players said they put in more work than they had in the past. The loss to Digital Harbor, in which the Clippers blew a 34-21 lead with less than five minutes left, is something they don’t want to repeat.
“That loss really hurt us because we didn’t think we were supposed to lose that game,” running back Fess Williams said. “We came out sluggish and Digital Harbor wasn’t playing around—they smacked us in the mouth. We said we wouldn’t let that happen again.”
Once the defense was able to set the tone against Carver, the offense was able to follow. With time expiring in the first half, quarterback Craig Oliver heaved a pass down the field. The ball got behind the Carver secondary and into the hands of running back Derwin Beasley, who took the ball in for a 50-yard touchdown.
“The linebacker was on me and I didn’t think I would be open,” Beasley said. “But the safety came up and they came up right over the ball. The ball went over them and I caught it for an easy touchdown.”
Up 14-6 at the half, the Clippers’ defense stifled the Carver offense for the remainder of the game.
“We had to dig deep because last week, against Digital, we had expectations and everything was all on us,” receiver Devonte Goode said. “But when we lost against Digital, we had to pull ourselves out of a big hole.”
Patterson coach Corey Johnson said the Clippers were guilty of overlooking Digital Harbor, having beaten the Rams 64-20 in 2010. As for the remainder of the season, the Clippers players say they’re not taking anyone else lightly—and that goes for this week’s opponent Douglass, a team that’s moved up divisions this year.
“They’re the best team in the country,” Beasley said. “That’s our scouting report on every team.”
A representative from Towson University attended the Patterson-Carver game to see Oliver play. Oliver is being recruited to play defense at the next level.
Senior wide receiver Pete Carter missed last week’s game due to a shoulder injury. Johnson said he’s unsure how much time he’ll miss. Carter is the team’s top wideout.
by Jason Butt