Football’s dominant Homecoming game


Evan Scheinberg

Richard Montgomery defeated Poolesville in dominant fashion, showcasing stellar performances from Tylen Hebron and Daryn Alexander in front of an enormous Homecoming crowd. The seats at Roy Lester Stadium at were packed with students, alumni, staff, and parents to see the Rockets take on the Falcons, the Homecoming court presentation, and crowning of the King and Queen.

Minutes before game time, the crowning ceremony took place, in which star running back Tylen Hebron and senior Vanessa Barnes were named King and Queen. The teams took to the field shortly after, and the game was set to begin after another outstanding performance by the RM Marching Band. The festivities and light-hearted celebrations were followed however by a moment of silence to commemorate a former RM teacher and football coach who sadly passed away this past week.

More players joined Daryn Alexander, Tylen Hebron, Zion Ledyard, and Fabien Chiza by raising their fists during the anthem to show support of the recent racial equality movement.

Photo by Evan Scheinberg
Photo by Evan Scheinberg

Poolesville won the coin toss, then choosing to defer, kicked the ball off to RM to begin the game. The deep kick was fielded by senior Kris Ricks, who took the ball all the way to the end zone behind great blocking from the special teams. The run put the Rockets on the scoreboard just 19 seconds into the game. The extra-point from Juver Diaz split the uprights, and the Rockets gained the early upper hand by a score of 7-0.

Following the kickoff from the Rockets, Poolesville took over on their own thirty yard line to begin their drive. On second down, after an incomplete pass, senior Zaire Mitchell-Paden broke through the offensive line and downed the quarterback for a substantial loss. The Falcons were eventually forced to punt after being unable to convert on the final two drives of the set.

The Rockets fielded the punt in decent field position to begin their new set of downs. After a short gain by Hebron, junior quarterback Spencer Silverstein showed his poise in the pocket, escaping multiple defenders to finding senior Zion Ledyard for an open reception for a gain of over twenty yards.

After failing to convert the next set of downs, Silverstein and the Rockets found themselves facing a fourth down with three yards to go for the first down. RM elected to run the ball, passing it to Tylen Hebron and increasing the Rockets’ lead over the Falcons, as Hebron ran in his first touchdown of the game. Another successful PAT from Diaz gave the Rockets a 14-0 lead with 6:07 to play in the quarter.

On the Falcons next drive, a facemask call against the Rockets slid them further upfield, however the seemingly successful run was soon stopped by impressive defense. The stellar run defense from sophomore Kianoush Afshar and junior Adam Tounkara quickly led to a turnover on downs for Poolesville, ending the quarter with the Rockets holding onto their 14-0 lead.

The second quarter opened up with a quick catch-and-run from Silverstein to senior Greg Heredia and put the Rockets close to the goal line. A handoff to Hebron gave him his second touchdown of the game and added to the Rockets’ already big lead. After another good PAT from Diaz, the Rockets led 21-0.

Poolesville began their new drive following a big gain on the ground that nearly led to a touchdown. The touchdown was prevented as junior Avery Reeves-Williams pushed the halfback out of bounds. Two plays later, Daryn Alexander intercepted the Falcons’ pass attempt in the end zone, giving the ball back to the Rockets on their own ten yard line.

On the very first play of the possession, Homecoming King Tylen Hebron took a handoff to the outside and beat the entire Falcon defensive squad for a 90-yard run. This was Hebron’s third touchdown of the half, tying his season record. The added extra point gave the Rockets an incredible lead of 28-0 with 8:31 to play in the half.

The next Poolesville drive was short and sweetending on just four plays after great pass and run pressure by the Rockets’ defensive line.

After the Falcons’ punt, a bizarre drive for the Rockets commenced. An incredible scramble and pass from Silverstein to Alexander, who impressively kept both feet in bounds on the sideline, was later deemed an illegal forward pass. Two consecutive holding penalties on the Rockets then followed, pinning them back 32 yards from a first down. The Rockets punted away to the Falcons with just seconds to play in the half. As the clock hit zero, the Rockets found themselves heading into the locker room with a commanding 28-0 lead.

After a great performance by the Poms, the Rockets took the field again as they looked to add onto their lead in the second half. The Falcons started a new quarterback in the second half in an effort to ignite a better offensive performance. After a solid drive, the Falcons faced a fourth down in Rocket territory. The quarterback heaved a high ball to the end zone, where Daryn Alexander picked it off, notching his second interception of the game.

The Rockets were unable to gain momentum on the next drive and elected to punt after just three plays on fourth down. The ensuing possession for the Falcons demonstrated an impressive running performance. On a long pass, Alexander was called for defensive pass interference, a questionable call that angered the RM coaching staff.

The Rockets were soon able to bounce back after a huge sack by senior captain Zavier Ledyard that pushed the Falcons further back. They were unable to convert on fourth down, resulting in a  turnover on downs once again.

The Rockets were once again faced with a third down and long, pushed even further back due to a penalty. Unable to gain the yardage, they were forced to punt with three minutes to play in the quarter. Poolesville ended the quarter on an intentional grounding penalty, after the quarterback tried to throw away the ball after being clobbered by Tounkara.

The Rockets started the final quarter of play still with a commanding 28-0 lead. The continuation of the Falcons’ earlier drive became another turnover on downs. On just the first play of the new drive for the Rockets, Silverstein was hit hard in the backfield as he released the ball, resulting in an interception in Rocket territory for the Falcons.

Despite good field position, the Falcons’ soon saw themselves faced with a  crucial fourth down. Tylen Hebron rushed and sacked the quarterback, forcing the third consecutive turnover on downs for the Falcons.

The ensuing drive for the Rockets saw only one short completion from Silverstein to Zion Ledyard, and soon enough the Rockets were forced to punt again.

Poolesville took over and was putting together a good-looking drive behind two big pickups on the ground and one by air. As they were nearing RM’s goal line, the Rockets’ defense came through as Daryn Alexander intercepted for the third time, running it for a 95-yard touchdown.

The extra point sealed the deal for the Rockets, and soon the clock hit zero the Rockets prevailed victorious by a shutout final score of 35-0.

Photo by Evan Scheinberg
Photo by Evan Scheinberg

When asked how he felt he played after being crowned Homecoming King, Tylen Hebron told the Tide, “Coach Klotz constantly reminded me of the homecoming distractions and I was very happy with myself for being disciplined and staying focused for a must win game, and as you can see it contributed to my performance on the field. I just wanna thank God for my success and thank my lineman for always getting the job done for me.”