Warriors lose to Bobcats, fall short of title
Special to the Whig
— Having already claimed its spot as the No. 1 seed in next week’s 1A North Region playoffs, Havre de Grace traveled to Bel Air Friday night in pursuit of the Chesapeake Division title.
The Warriors would fall 12 yards shy of capping a remarkable comeback as they marched back from a 15-point deficit with 5:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, before falling to host Bel Air 28-20, which captured the upper division crown for a second consecutive season.
“It shows we can play with
the big dogs,” Warriors senior quarterback Mike Flosser said of his team’s performance. “I really liked the way we played and how we never gave up. That was a really good team effort even though the loss is pretty big. We’re gonna carry this as a building point. We’ll be ready for next week.”
After surrendering a touchdown on the opening kickoff to Bobcats senior running back Daniel Webber, the Warriors were able to gain momentum as they recovered a muffed punt return at the Bobcat 37-yard line. Following 12 yards on four carries by Jasai Stansbury and an 11-yard pass by Floss- er, junior kicker Clay Harris knocked a 31-yard field goal through the uprights to cut the Bobcat lead to 7-3.
The Bobcats (8-2 overall, 4-2 division), who needed a win to clinch a playoff spot in the 4A North Region, took over following the ensuing kickoff and proceeded to run 8:16 off the clock. Senior running back Keegan McHugh led the 69-yard drive with eight carries for 35 yards, before Webber scored his second touchdown of the night on a 6-yard run.
An amazing, one-handed, 2-point conversion reception in the corner of the end zone by wide receiver Jon Scott followed to put Bel Air ahead 14-3 with 8:21 remaining in the second quarter.
Flosser would answer with five completions for 73 yards as Havre de Grace drove 79 yards on just seven plays, before the quarterback found the end zone himself on a 1-yard sneak to cut the Bobcats’ lead to 14-10.
“Mike has been a catalyst for us on the offensive side of the ball,” Havre de Grace coach Brian Eberhardt said of his quarterback, who threw for 253 yards and one touchdown on 18 completions.
“Obviously, his play has been stellar all season long, he’s been making good decisions.”
The Warriors (7-2, 4-2) cut the lead to 14-13 entering halftime as they forced a Bel Air turnover on downs with one minute remaining before the break. Clay Harris followed a 48-yard drive by hitting his second field goal of the night, a 41-yarder from the right hash mark as time expired.
“A good high school kicker is definitely a weapon,” Eberhardt said of Harris. “We’ve been blessed the last two years. Last year we had a really good kicker, as well, and case in point, we won
a game 3-0. Clay is a phenomenal kicker and only a junior, so hopefully we’ll get a few more kicks out of him.”
The Bobcats would control the third quarter as they forced two Havre de Grace punts and capitalized on both by scoring a pair of rushing touchdowns to pull ahead 28-13 entering the final frame. McHugh found the end zone on a 30-yard rush, while Webber scored from one yard out.
After forcing a turnover on downs with 5:30 remaining in the game, the Warriors took over and started to rally.
Flosser found wide receiver Ken-
neth Sumpter for a 37-yard touchdown pass to conclude a nine play, 76-yard drive with 3:26 remaining and pull Havre de Grace within 8 points, 28-20.
The Warriors then continued to make things interesting as their defense forced a three-and-out after the Bobcats recovered an onside kick. Flosser took over and led Havre de Grace on a gutsy drive that went 70 yards and landed them on the Bel Air 12-yard line with 22 seconds remaining in the game.
The Bobcats defense would stand tall, forcing three consecutive incompletions to capture a 28-
20 win and re-stake its claim on the Chesapeake Division title.
“Hopefully it gives us a little boost and some confidence,” Eberhardt said of the loss to Bel Air, who locked up the No. 3 seed in the 4A North Region. “Not only are they a 4A school, but they are a good, playoff 4A school. Hopefully that gives us a little boost to play at that level, and see if we can stretch things out here throughout the playoffs.”
Havre de Grace will host an opening round playoff game next Friday as they look to return to the 1A State Championship Game for a second consecutive year.
Havre de Grace senior quarterback Mike Flosser throws a pass during the second quarter of his team’s 28-20 loss to host Bel Air in Chesapeake Division football action on Friday.