With cowbells ringing and parents cheering across the sideline ropes, head coach Roy Bowerman III watched his Severna Park Green Hornets turn a slow start into a dominant performance October 7.
The U12 Hornets moved to 2-1 this fall by securing a 28-0 victory over the Upper Queen Anne’s County Lions. After posting a 2-7 record at the U11 level last season with a lot of new faces on the team, Bowerman said the extra year of experience and maturity has been the difference.
Severna Park spent nearly the entire 10-minute first quarter on defense, as UQA kept running the ball and kept moving the chains. But the defense tightened up in the red zone, forcing a turnover on downs and keeping the Lions off the board. The Hornets never looked back after that.
“They brought it together and came together as a team and worked together as a team, and we were able to overcome,” Bowerman said.
On just the second offensive play after the turnover, Hornets running back J.P. Lighthizer broke free down the sideline for a touchdown run of over 80 yards, giving Severna Park a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The lead was 12-0 at halftime thanks to a touchdown pass from Lane August to Cole Cavanaugh. On the opening drive of the third quarter, Landon Williams found the end zone and kicker William Mazcko drilled the two-point kick to make it 20-0.
Later in the period, another touchdown pass from August to Cavanaugh was nullified because the county’s mercy rule requires a team leading by 18 or more to change both its quarterback and running backs. After being sent back to midfield, though, the Hornets regrouped and kept the drive going. Hayden Fox, filling in for August at quarterback, capped off the possession with a rushing score that extended the lead to 28-0.
Fox — one of Bowerman’s four “OGs” who have now played five seasons of tackle football together, along with Roy Bowerman IV, Bodie Isenberg and Ben Ruppert — earned the Hornet Hammer ( pictured above) after scoring his first career rushing touchdown. While he’s thrown for scores before, he was excited to finally carry the ball across the goal line.
“It just feels like a relief,” Fox said. “You finally accomplish your goal, and now you just want more and more. This just feels like a good accomplishment.”
After just three games in this shortened season, Severna Park — whose roster includes William Andrione, August, Evan Boucher, Bowerman IV, Ailee Briggs, Tom Brockett, Shawn Burkhardt, Cavanaugh, Noah Croghan, Jack Crutchley, Noah Draper, Isaac Fairbanks, Fox, Lincoln Greenwood, Aidan Holly, Isenberg, Ben Kreis, Lighthizer, Mazcko, Michael Queen, Ruppert, Daniel Smearman, Nakia Summers, Jack Tenenbaum, Joey Viskocil, Houston Walker and Williams — has scored nearly as many points as it did in nine contests last year.
With a league structure that allows youth teams to develop roster continuity, Bowerman says the Green Hornets are now a football family. The cowbells have become a tradition; each mom received one customized with their child’s number this season. And while it remains to be seen whether these Hornets can stack up with the teams that beat them last year, Bowerman is grateful to have a season and to have that chance.
“Coming out and seeing these boys [and Ailee] do what they do on the field, this is pure football to me,” Bowerman said. “These kids are doing it because they have fun doing it and they love the game, and that’s what means the most to me.”