War­riors lose to Bob­cats, fall short of ti­tle

Cecil Whig - - ACCENT - By MATT HICKS

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

BEL AIR

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.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JOR­DAN SCHATZ

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.

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