No. 14 Hereford survives Overlea, 14-12, ends long playoff rut
The script for the Hereford football team had remained eerily similar in recent years: Dominate the regular season, secure a coveted spot in the state playoffs and … bow out quietly. That is, until Friday night. Minutes after running back Kahlil Rich was taken off the field by ambulance after what was ruled to be an illegal hit, teammate Michael Cotterino scored on a 10-yard run around the left side with 3:34 to play, as the host No. 14 Bulls rallied for two unanswered touchdowns in a14-12 win over Baltimore County rival Overlea in the Class 2A North region semifinals.
“We just rallied the troops and said, ‘This is it. This is all or nothing right now. Leave it all on the field,’ ” Hereford coach Ric Evans said. “We said last night at a team dinner, if something happens, next man up. I know that’s cliche and everybody says it, but that’s how it was for us tonight. That’s what we needed from our guys.”
Fresh off their first perfect regular season since 2007, the Bulls (11-0) now move on to next weekend’s regional final, where they will face the winner of today’s game between Dunbar and Randallstown. Hereford will host that game Friday.
Its win marks the first time since 2009 that the Bulls have advanced past the first round, breaking a four-game postseason losing streak.
After a scoreless first half, Overlea built a 12-0 lead on third-quarter touchdown runs of 75 and 35 yards by Byron Staten.
Down 12-7, Hereford took possession at its own 36-yard line after a punt, then got a huge break on a fourth-and-33 from its 13, when a roughing-the-punter call resulted in an automatic first down.
Three plays later, the game was halted when an illegal hit at the end of a run left Rich motionless near midfield. Play was stopped for several minutes while para- medics attended to Rich, whowas taken to a hospital, his head and neck stabilized.
He was moving his limbs as he was wheeled off the field.
Once play resumed about 25 minutes later, the Bulls drove the final 40 yards, all on the ground, capped by Cotterino’s score.
“We were just pushing through for Kahlil,” Cotterino said. “We were just using all of our strength to get those points on the board.”