De­fense, Flosser’s of­fen­sive ex­plo­sion key in War­riors win

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By MATT HICKS

— Hav­ing clinched home field ad­van­tage through­out the 1A North Re­gion play­offs, Havre de Grace be­gan its quest Fri­day to­ward a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive state fi­nal ap­per­ance.

The top-seeded War­riors nar­rowly es­caped a ma­jor up­set as they di­aled up a key goal-line stand late in the third quar­ter and then ex­ploded for 18 unan­swered points en route to a 48-34 win over visit­ing No. 4 Fair­mont Heights in the re­gion semi­fi­nals.

“I’m very im­pressed,” Havre de Grace head coach Brian Eber­hardt said of his team’s come-from-be­hind vic­tory. “For us to face that deficit and be able to over­come that, hope­fully it gives us some mo­men­tum that we can carry into our next game. We can’t let our­selves get into a sit­u­a­tion like that again. We’re go­ing to keep fac­ing bet­ter and bet­ter teams, and you can’t al­ways come back from a deficit like that.”

With 7:29 re­main­ing in the third quar­ter, Havre de Grace se­nior quar­ter­back Mike Flosser found Wil­liam Ash­man for a 47-yard touch­down that cut the deficit to 34-30. The War­riors’ de­fense then made its mark on the game and kept mo­men­tum on its side by stand­ing tall and forc­ing a turnover-on-downs late in the game at its own 1-yard line.

“That [goal-line stand] re­ally did [change the com­plex­ion of the game],” Eber­hardt said of his de­fense, an­chored by ju­nior Sean Gree­ley. “We asked our guys to dig in and we felt like we’d be able to score again if we could get them off the field. We re­ally needed the guys to stick their heels in the ground, and we were able to come up with a big stop.”

Flosser would then put his War­riors (8-2) ahead for good after he found his trusted re­ceiver Jor­dan Day on an 80-yard touch­down strike that gave his team a 37-34 lead head­ing into the fourth quar­ter.

Day is a great ath­lete,” Flosser said of his ju­nior re­ceiver, who racked up 218 re­ceiv­ing yards and three touch­downs on eight re­cep­tions. “He knows how to get up and get the ball, he can track the ball well and I have full trust in him.”

Havre de Grace pulled away and capped the thrilling vic­tory by turn­ing the next two un­suc­cess­ful Hor­nets pos­ses­sions into 11 points.

Ju­nior kicker Clay Har­ris knocked a 36-yard field goal through the up­rights, be­fore run­ning back Ja­sai Stans­bury (16 car­ries for 67 yards) found the end zone on a 12-yard run.

Flosser then found re­ceiver Ken­neth Sumpter in the cor­ner of the end zone for the 2-point con­ver­sion.

“It was a great team per­for­mance,” Flosser said of his team­mates. “Some guys were down [early in the game] but the rest of the team re­ally brought them up. Jor­dan Day is a great cap­tain and he re­ally kept us up. I owe it to the coaches, they never stopped push­ing us to be the best we could be.”

Flosser (21 com­ple­tions for 343 yards and four touch­downs) made sure to credit Fair­mont Heights on its per­for­mance.

“It’s not easy to make the play­offs and we all know they played a tough sched­ule in PG [Prince Ge­orge’s] County. You can’t over­look any­body,” the quar­ter­back said. “We were ex­pect­ing a good game and they gave us ev­ery­thing they had. We took too much of a break in prac­tice [this past week], and we need to prac­tice harder [mov­ing for­ward].”

Eber­hardt echoed his quar­ter­back’s state­ment.

“We’ve been play­ing tough in the sec­ond half of foot­ball games all year. You can throw records out the win­dow right now [in the play­offs],” he said. “They’ve [Fair­mont Heights] played some tough, tough games this year and they are a good foot­ball team. We sur­vive and move on.”

The con­test be­gan with fire­works.

The War­riors found them­selves ahead 7-6 in an early back-and-forth con­test when Flosser an­swered a 61-yard rush­ing touch­down by Hor­nets run­ning back Colby James with a 2-yard rush­ing touch­down to fin­ish a 47yard drive.

Har­ris, who has be­come a weapon for Havre de Grace, com­piled three touch­backs on kick­offs and con­trib­uted 10 points on the evening (4-for-5 PAT, 2-for 2 on field goals). He would make Fair­mont Heights pay for a fum­ble at mid­field by con­vert­ing a 37-yard field goal that put the War­riors ahead 10-6.

Havre de Grace then an­swered a 74-yard rush­ing touch­down by Hor­nets run­ning back Fran­cis Wills when Flosser found Day for touch­down passes of 73 and 16 yards, re­spec­tively, in the sec­ond quar­ter to pull the War­riors back in front, 2314.

Fair­mont Heights (3-8) fin­ished the first half with a 26-23 lead after it caught the War­riors off guard with a trick-play pass from half­back Wills to re­ceiver Vin­cent Lockard that went for a 72-yard touch­down. The score pro­ceeded a 2-yard touch­down by James with four se­conds re­main­ing.

The fire­works would carry over to the sec­ond half as Wills scored on a 12-yard touch­down run be­fore the War­riors stormed back be­hind the arm of Flosser.

“Mike has been here be­fore,” Eber­hardt said of his quar­ter­back. “As a se­nior quar­ter­back, he’s been through the play­offs, which is big to have, and Jor­dan Day is re­ally start­ing to hit his stride. I need to give credit to our of­fen­sive coaches and our of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Andy Downs, who comes up with some great game plans for those guys and does a great job.”

Havre de Grace ad­vances to next week­end’s re­gion fi­nal, where it will host sec­ond-seeded Sur­rattsville, which de­feated No. 3 McDonough on Fri­day, 20-16.

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