Mutiny coach Jeff Lascola raised the Prince William Pigskin Classic Trophy victoriously in the air and proclaimed to the rest of the Mason-Dixon Football League that “they are lucky that the two of us do not combine into one team, because we would be unstoppable.”
Ah yes, solidarity.
For at least those few minutes, the front was clear in the Prince William County semi-pro football civil war. It could almost make people forget that Lascola threw a bomb late in the fourth quarter to try to run up the score or that there were about six billion personal fouls in the Mutiny’s 23-12 victory Saturday night at Manassas Park over their heated rivals.
“I love it! I love it!,” Lascola exclaimed after the win. “I just love making them eat crow.”
The Monarchs handled the Mutiny last year, 27-9, which only fueled the teams’ animosity towards each other. Monarchs coach Ray Scott predicted at last year’s Mason-Dixon All-Star game that the Monarchs would roll to a 45-10 victory over the Mutiny.
That, though, didn’t quite happen.
The Mutiny jumped out to an early 6-0 lead when running back Raymond Gee slashed in from seven yards with 8:39 left in the first quarter.
Gee, who set the Prince William County single-season rushing record his senior year at Stonewall, set up the score on the play before when he busted a 30-yard run to put the Mutiny on the Monarchs doorstep.
The Mutiny held the lead going into halftime behind their redshirt defense and put another touchdown on the board when running back Calvin Bailey scampered in from 15 yards.
Bailey played last season with the West Virginia Blitzin’ Bulldogs, but came over the Mutiny this season to play for a winner. He lives in Winchester and works in Centreville and decided it would be better to join the Mutiny, instead of commuting to West Virginia to play.
“When we played them last year I kind of wondered, jokingly, why I wasn’t playing for them,” Bailey said. “It’s closer to home and just an easier commute than going all the way over the mountain.”
Bailey made his presence felt again in the second half with a 16-yard touchdown run after an interception by free safety Eric Hayes.
Hayes picked off Monarch quarterback Jamie Davis at the Mutiny 35-yard line and returned the ball down to the Monarchs’ 16. Bailey punched it in on the next play to give the Mutiny a 20-0 lead with 3:20 left in the third quarter and all but seal the win.
Bailey finished with 85 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. He did the bulk of his work in the second half, rushing for 72 yards. Bailey along with Gee, who finished with 72 yards on nine carries, give the Mutiny arguably the best running back duo in the Mason-Dixon Football League.
“When he came in I welcomed him with open arms,” said Gee, who was third in the league in rushing last year. “We can kind of work off each other and have developed a friendly competition. It’s easier to have both of us, because you do not have to take the pounding that you usually do.”
The Monarchs responded early in the fourth quarter when Davis hooked up with wide receiver Victor Horne on a 15-yard fade pass to the corner of the end zone. Horne, who had two catches for 24 yards in the game, came down with the ball and cut the score to 20-6 with 14:13 left in the game.
Mutiny kicker Mike Petruzzi nailed a 39-yard field goal to make the score 23-6 with 3:49 remaining on the clock.
The Monarchs scored the game’s final touchdown when Davis hit recent Potomac graduate Jesse Williams on another fade pass in the right corner of the end zone. The game, though, was out of reach at this point, but that did not mean the Mutiny were done trying to score.
With just over two minutes remaining, Mutiny quarterback Steve Moss heaved a bomb towards receiver Lucius Harris from midfield towards the Monarch end zone. The ball was picked off by Monarch cornerback Lionel Keith Walker at the 10-yard line, but the point was made.
“That was for their onside kick in the fourth quarter last year,” Lascola said. “I mean the game was over 27-9 and they onside kicked it, but they didn’t get the chance this year.”
The Monarchs are not used to being on the losing end, but are accustomed to dealing with early season controversy. They lost their season opener last year, but rebounded to win the league title.
“One game does not make our league,” Scott said. “I don’t like it, but there is nothing we can do about it. We just have to regroup and we’ll see them next time at Woodbridge and return the favor.”
Scott was angry about the preparation of his players as opposed to their play on the field. He complained about players showing up late, missing tackles and spending too much time talking trash on the field.
“We lost this game in the locker room,” Scott said. “I’m not giving the Mutiny all that much credit. They played a good game, but we helped them. If we had played the game the way the Monarchs know how to play the game then we would have won. I mean, take your hats off to them, because they took advantage of it.”
The Monarchs (0-1) better regroup fast as they host the 1999 and 2000 league champion West Deptford (N.J.) Broncos next Saturday at 7 p.m. at Woodbridge High School. The Mutiny (1-0) host the Cumberland Valley (Penn.) Cardinals next Saturday at Manassas Park High School. The game starts at 7 p.m.
The two teams will meet again August 24 at 7 p.m. at Woodbridge High School.