A few players had more total yards, and a few others equaled his scoring output, but no one came up with a more clutch performance than Sherwood running back Fernando Smith last week.
In a tense back-and-forth battle with Northwest, Smith carried the Warriors to a 32-24 victory with 150 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. More importantly, he kept his team's slim playoff hopes alive in the 4A North.
"It was just a great game, a tough game," said the 5-foot-10, 195-pound Smith, who rushed for a total of 283 yards and five touchdowns. "But I had my rhythm going, my line was blocking great and the coaches kept calling my number. This was really the best game I've ever had - most yards, most carries and most touchdowns. Everything was perfect."
Almost every one of Smith's 31 carries was crucial because Northwest, a feisty upstart squad loaded with young talent, wouldn't go away. The Jaguars thrived behind quarterback Matty Callahan, who passed for 247 yards and two touchdowns. To counter the effort, Smith had to match Callahan's arm with his legs.
After Callahan gave Northwest a 7-0 lead, Smith answered with a 1-yard touchdown run. Then, after Northwest added a field goal, Smith responded with a 50-yard jaunt. And after Callahan led the Jags on a fourth-quarter scoring drive to reclaim the lead, Smith came on with a vengeance. He effectively put an end to the showdown, reeling off three straight touchdowns to put Northwest in their place.
"I have to give mad credit to my O-line and fullback," Smith said. "Our line can sense a lot and they see a lot of things that aren't obvious to the human eye out there. They could tell [Northwest] was getting tired late in the game. So they came over to our coaches and said, 'Run Fernando, run Fernando, run Fernando.'
"So that's what we did," Smith continued. "We were calling iso off-tackle runs over and over and [Northwest] couldn't stop it. We just punched them in the mouth and wore them down."
Smith pointed to his 55-yard, fourth-quarter score as the key play in the game. Right before the touchdown, Northwest had seized momentum by taking an 18-12 lead with about 10 minutes left in the game. But Smith's spectacular run seemed to inspire his team.
"Our backs were against the wall and I had to make a play," Smith said. "They gave me the ball, I broke three tackles, did a spin move to get by another guy and then just took it to the house. After that we took control."
Indeed they did. Sherwood's defense proceeded to stuff Northwest on back-to-back drives, giving Smith more time to work his magic. The powerful 'back scored twice more, once on a 25-yard run and then on a 24 yarder to break the game open.
"I worked really hard over the summer to get to this point. I really hope I opened some eyes [of recruiters] after this," said Smith, who still does not have any scholarship offers. "But, mainly, I'm just really glad we got the win and still have a shot at the playoffs. Right now, that's all that's on my mind. I want to play five more games."
Top Performers (Offense)
Thomas Stuart, QB, Calvert Hall: 350 yards, 7 TDs; 50 rushing yards CJ Williams, RB, Calvert Hall: over 100 yards, 3 TDs Trevor Williams, WR, Calvert Hall: 8 receptions, over 100 yards, 3 TDs Joel Jorgensen, QB, McDonogh: 350 yards, 5 TDs Jabari Weems, WR, McDonogh: over 100 yards, TD Wes Brown, RB, Good Counsel: 211 yards, 3 TDs Ryan Yamada, QB, Good Counsel: 101 yards, 2 TDs Devon Paye, RB, Hammond: 230 yards, 4 TDs Dionte Jones, RB, Hammond: 112 total yards, 2 TDs Aaron Wells, RB, River Hill: 118 yards, TD Tyler Young, WR, Arundel: 5 receptions, 109 yards, TD Cooper Hibbs, QB, Arundel: 149 yards, 3 TDs Jack Gordon, QB, Arundel: 112 yards, 2 TDs Matt Davis, RB, Arundel: 100 yards Phillip Butler, RB, North Hagerstown: 210 yards, 2 TDs Joey Conrad, QB, Brunswick: 286 yards, 2 TDs Ahmere Ware, RB, South Hagerstown: 104 yards, 2 TDs Brandon Ness, QB, South Hagerstown: 112 yards, TD Garrett Clay, RB, Fort Hill: 289 yards, 4 TDs Cyrus Jones, ATH, Gilman: over 100 total yards, 4 TDs Shane Cockerille, QB, Gilman: 310 yards, 2 TDs Marcus Alston, TE, Mount St. Joseph: 100 total yards, 2 TDs Ryan Umpleby, WR, Fallston: over 150 total yards, 3 TDs John Hetterman, QB, Fallston: over 150 yards, 3 TDs Eric Latham, RB, Perry Hall: 183 yards, 3 TDs Priestly Shuler, RB, Poly: 104 yards, TD DeAndre Lane, RB, Catonsville: about 200 total yards, 3 TDs Steffen Wilkens, QB, City: over 100 total yards, 4 TDs Zach Welch, RB, Middletown: 182 yards, 4 TDs Forrest Parker, RB, Walkersville: 127 yards, 2 TDs Brady Policelli, QB, Walkersville: 136 yards, TD Jake Miller, WR, Walkersville: 4 receptions, 103 yards, TD; 47 rushing yards, TD William Copeland, ATH, Frederick: about 200 total yards, 3 TDs Matt Hynes, QB, Frederick: 169 yards, TD Raykwon Gray, RB, Urbana: 169 yards, 2 TDs Nick Peifer, QB, St. John's: 281 yards, 3 TDs; 51 rushing yards, TD Grier Wilson, WR, St. John's: 10 receptions, 142 yards, 2 TDs Tyler Beatty, QB, Sherwood: 121 yards Fernando Smith, RB, Sherwood: 283 yards, 5 TDs James Jones-Williams, RB, Seneca Valley: 161 yards, TD Rachid Ibrahm, RB, Avalon: 151 yards, 4 TDs Diondre Anderson, RB, B-CC: 139 yards, TD Cory Applequist, RB, B-CC: 101 yards, 2 TDs Curtis Kamara, RB, Churchill: 137 yards, 2 TDs Lansana Keita, ATH, Churchill: 116 rushing yards, TD; 84 passing yards Steve Burchett, QB, Richard Montgomery: 100 total yards, 2 TDs Kevin Enu, RB, Rockville 125 yards, TD Val Djidotor, RB, Whitman :104 yards, 2 TDs Mike Flack, ATH, Whitman: 166 total yards, TD Matty Callahan, QB, Northwest: 247 yards, TD Chris Papadopoulos, QB, Wootton: 202 yards; 96 rushing yards, TD Julian Carr, QB, Blake: 136 yards, TD David Smith, QB, Paint Branch: 115 yards, 2 TDs Eddie Cooke, QB, Damascus: 112 yards, TD Mark Green, RB, Quince Orchard: 102 yards, TD Darren Cromwell, RB, Annapolis: 102 yards, TD Paul Russell, QB, Annapolis: 174 yards, TD Blake Russell, WR, Northeast-AA: 9 receptions, 122 yards Eric Grantland, QB, Northeast-AA: 248 yards Calvinaugh Jones, RB, Meade: 175 yards, 3 TDs Daivon Nixon, QB, Meade: 150 yards, 2 TDs Austin Stein, QB, Severna Park: 280 yards, 2 TDs Kevin Cook, WR, Severna Park: 7 receptions, 133 yards Eamonn Vain-Callahan, RB, Severn: 135 yards, 2 TDs Connor Cox, QB, South River: 293 yards, 6 TDs Lavon Chaney, RB, South River: about 200 total yards, 3 TDs Tavon Spears, ATH, North County: 184 total yards, 3 TDs Robert Chesson, RB, Old Mill: 228 yards, 2 TDs Ben Goodrich, QB, Kent Island: 176 yards, TD Kyle Boone, RB, Kent Island: 114 yards Brian Louck, QB, Spalding: over 100 yards, 3 TDs Nate Lewnes, RB, St. Mary's: 121 yards, 2 TDs Spencer Coyle, QB, St. Mary's: 245 yards, TD Matt Wallace, WR, St. Mary's: 8 receptions, 134 yards Montell Martin, RB, John Carroll: 182 total yards, 3 TDs Josh McPhearson, RB, AACS: 160 total yards, 3 TDs Chris Chick, QB, AACS: 167 yards, 3 TDs Alpha Jalloh, ATH, AACS: 117 total yards, 2 TDs Romie Cheese, ATH, Westminster: 224 total yards, 4 TDs Justin Sommerville, ATH, Westminster: 130 total yards, 2 TDs Nick Schaffer, RB, Century: 164 yards Brad MacFee, QB, Century: 122 yards, 2 TDs Terin Kelsey, QB, North Carroll: 129 yards, 2 TDs Noel Spencer, RB, Edgewood: 118 yards, 2 TDs Mason Parker, RB, Edgewood: 102 yards, TD Austin Nierwinski, QB, Harford Tech: over 200 yards, 4 TDs Christian Carpenter, WR, Aberdeen: 6 receptions, 100 yards, 3 TDs Kenny Faulcon, QB, Aberdeen: 200 yards, 3 TDs Montell Martin, RB, John Carroll: over 100 yards, 3 TDs Ryan Morgan, RB, Allegany: 145 yards, 2 TDs Matt Zelechowski, RB, Curley: 120 yards, TD Darius Victor, RB, Northwestern-PG: 173 yards, 4 TDs Tre Lee, QB, Patuxent: 154 total yards, TD Troy Brown, RB, Westlake: 109 yards, TD Luke Depasquale, QB, Patterson Mill: 203 yards, 4 TDs Deonte Alston, ATH, Patterson Mill: 177 total yards, 3 TDs Devinn Fisher, ATH, Patterson Mill: 118 total yards Brandon Cherry, RB, Boys' Latin: 308 yards, 2 TDs Myles Allen, RB, Landon: 170 yards, 3 TDs Kevin Jones, RB, Bullis: 160 yards, TD; receiving TD Karron Hickman, RB, Centennial: 155 yards, 2 TDs CJ Taylor, RB, North Caroline: 128 yards, TD Troy Taylor, RB, Snow Hill: 217 yards, 2 TDs Cory Berry, RB, Easton: 102 yards Jaelon Moaney, QB, Easton: 114 yards, TD Dontea Ayres, RB, Wicomico: over 100 yards, 2 TDs Dominic Bryan, RB, Georgetown Prep: over 100 yards, 2 TDs Luah Talo, QB, Dundalk: 110 yarsd, TD Trevon Reid, ATH, Dundalk: 249 total yards EJ Montgomery, QB, Reservoir: 182 passing yards, TD; 71 rushing yards Tavon Young, WR, Potomac: 102 total yards, 4 TDs Antonio Washington, QB, Potomac: 163 yards, 4 TDs Adam Coles, RB, Potomac: 125 yards, 2 TDs Jonathan Holland, QB, Flowers: 169 yards, 2 TDs Keith Payne, WR, Flowers: 2 receptions, 130 yards, TD Dequan Boatwright, QB, Bladensburg: about 300 total yards, 2 TDs Shamik Perry, RB, DuVal: 150 yards, TD Jarvis McClam, QB, Laurel: 141 yards Shawn Petty, QB, Roosevelt: 150 yards, 3 TDs Tamlin Antoine, WR, Roosevelt: 2 receptions, 100 yards, 2 TDs Anthony Squire, RB, Suitland: 237 yards, TD Nyema Washington, QB, Suitland: 137 yards, TD; 2 rushing TDs Shaquile Guyton-Jackson, RB, Surrattsville: 2 TDs Josef Hinnant, RB, Douglass-PG: 153 yards, TD; 87-yard kick return TD Emmanuel Smith, RB, Douglass-PG: 100 yards, TD Dewayne Staten, RB, Gwynn Park: 143 yards, TD Dequan Dukes, ATH, Parkville: over 100 total yards, TD Brady George, QB, Broadneck: 148 yards, 3 TDs Corey Contee, QB, Southern-AA: 129 yards, TD Rehvon Bryan, RB, Southern-AA: 122 yards