Sunday, October 07, 2007


Kicker Defeats Flashback-Inspired Nerves

Potomac's Offense Rules, With Help From All Quarters :
No. 15 Potomac 39, Osbourn 6
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, October 7, 2007; PW11

As Potomac senior Eric Dobratz's first extra point attempt was blocked in Friday's 39-6 win at Osbourn, the senior kicker thought, "Oh no, please don't let this happen again," he said.

Dobratz missed an extra point last September that helped Osbourn win its closest game of the season, 14-13, before the Eagles reeled off 11 more victories en route to the Division 6 state title.

The missed kick left Dobratz and the Panthers, who finished with an 11-2 record last year, wondering what if.

Following the loss, Potomac Coach Tony Lilly demanded that Dobratz, a soccer player who had become accustomed to hooking the ball, choose between his two favorite sports.

"I think I had more of a future in football," Dobratz said of his decision.

He proved that Friday as he connected on 3 of 4 extra point attempts, averaged 36.5 yards per punt and saddled Osbourn with poor field position all night, recording touchbacks on four of his six kickoffs.

Dobratz also converted an onside kick, and the coaching staff trusted him to attempt a two-point pass attempt, though it failed.

"I've been waiting a long time for this, especially after how things ended last year," said Dobratz. "It was hard on everyone."

Fifteenth-ranked Potomac (5-0) scored its first three touchdowns on a 65-yard interception return by senior defensive back Mulku Kalokoh, a 58-yard run by senior running back Darius Brent and a 67-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback DeAirius Thomas to senior wide receiver Abdul Kanneh to take the 19-0 lead at halftime.

Osbourn, which started its third quarterback this season, fell to 1-4.

"I was waiting on the interception, and I think that got us started with the momentum," said Kalokoh, who also chipped in 52 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 18 carries.

Brent (10 carries, 144 yards) averaged 14.4 yards per carry to spearhead a rush attack that outgained Osbourn 212-148. Thomas kept the Eagles defense off-balance by throwing for 99 yards and two touchdowns.

The Panthers defense, which is allowing 11.4 points per game, recorded three interceptions, recovered two fumbles, stopped the Eagles twice on fourth-and-one and blocked a extra point attempt.

"Our coaches drive us real hard on defense, and that's the main thing we practice is defense, defense, defense," said Kanneh, who grabbed the team's third interception on the first play of the fourth quarter and returned it for 32 yards to set up Kalokoh's final touchdown run, giving the Panthers the 39-0 lead.

Osbourn scored its only touchdown on a 17-play, 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter that was capped by a 12-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Derek Hyles, who shared time with sophomore Chaz Bates.

"I know there will be tougher tests ahead," Kanneh said.

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