Play­off-bound Ea­gles score late, sink Mariners

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL SPORTS -

Spe­cial to the Whig


With his team

trail­ing vis­it­ing Jop­pa­towne by a point late in the fourth quar­ter, Bo­hemia Manor head coach Joe Graf put Johnny Knight in at quar­ter­back to pro­vide a spark and a play- mak­ing threat.

Knight di­rected a 14-play, 75-yard drive that cul­mi­nated in the quar­ter­back find­ing the end zone on a 1-yard scam­per with 17 sec­onds left to give the Ea­gles the lead. Si­las Whit­ting­ton sealed the vic­tory with an in­ter­cep­tion on the fi­nal play of the game to give Bo Manor a 19-14 reg­u­lar-sea­son-end­ing vic­tory over the Mariners in Susque­hanna Divi­sion foot­ball ac­tion on Fri­day.

The vic­tory, cou­pled with a loss by Cam­bridge-SD, al­lowed the Ea­gles to take over the top seed in the 1A East Re­gion play­offs. They will host fourth-seeded Kent County next week­end.

“He’s just a ball player. We wanted to try to get the ball into his hands. We had to make an ad­just­ment to swing mo­men­tum and get some- thing go­ing of­fen­sively, and we did,” Graf said. “He’s the ul­ti­mate team player. He does what we ask. The ball has to be in his hands whether it’s run­ning, throw­ing or catch­ing.”

The go-ahead drive started at the Ea­gles’ 25 with 4:52 left in the fourth quar­ter. On the fourth play of the se­ries, Knight kept the drive alive with a 6-yard run on fourth-and-4 at the 31. He then fol­lowed that with com­ple­tions to Tyeler Buchanan and Ji­aire Cald­well moved the ball into Jop­pa­towne ter­ri­tory.

A pass in­ter­fer­ence and a face­mask penalty then moved the ball to the Mariners’ 12, and Whit­ting­ton fol­lowed with a 9-yard run that moved the ball to the 3-yard line. Knight pro­ceed to pick up the first down with a 1-yard rush, and, af­ter he was stuffed on first down, scored to give Bo Manor the lead with 19 sec­onds re­main­ing.

“Ba­si­cally, my mind­set was to do my job and make plays to win the game,” Knight said. “I just fol­lowed the big men up front. They did the whole work for me.”

Whit­ting­ton picked off Thomas Micha­lik’s des­per­a­tion heave on the fi­nal play to de­liver the Ea­gles (7-3 over­all, 5-2 divi­sion) a hard­fought vic­tory.

Bo Manor ap­peared as if it would win com­fort­ably fol­low­ing a dom­i­nant first quar­ter in which it took a 13-0 lead thanks to a 2-yard touch­down run from Devin Gate­wood and an 18-yard touch­down con­nec­tion from Ryan Con­nol­ley to Gate­wood.

Gate­wood cred­ited his team­mates for putting him in po­si­tion to score twice in the open­ing frame.

“I would not have been able to get those scores with­out my team,” Gate­wood said. “My O-line stepped up. Our left side wasn’t there [due to in­jury]. Guys that never played stepped up.”

The Mariners re­sponded with a dom­i­nant sec­ond quar­ter in which they scored 14 unan­swered points to take the lead. The first score came on a Michael Smith 1-yard touch­down run, which was fol­lowed by a suc­cess­ful 2-point con­ver­sion on a Micha­lik pass to Jor­dan Meads.

The Ea­gles then drove deep into en­emy ter­ri­tory, but an Asaad Brown 80-yard in­ter­cep­tion re­turn set up a 10-yard Micha­lik touch­down run that gave the Mariners a 14-13 ad­van­tage.

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