Warriors find themselves in familiar place, facing unfamiliar foe
Special to the Whig
— The Warriors prepare to face another stiff test from Prince George’s County this week after they overcame an 11-point deficit and scored 25 unanswered points in the second half last Friday to beat Fairmont Heights in the 1A North Region semifinals.
Tonight, second-seeded Surrattsville will be traveling 89 miles to battle host top-seeded Havre de Grace in the 1A North Region Final. From its Hornets mascot to its play on the field, the visitors appear to be a mirror image of the team the Warriors eliminated last week.
“I think we’re going to see a similar offense.” said Warriors coach Brian Eberhardt, when asked to compare Surrattsville to Fairmont Heights. “An athletic quarterback that does a lot of running and some aggressive athletes on defense.”
Havre de Grace (8-2) will look to minimize the damage by Hornets senior quarterback Jyree Smiley and will need a fast start after being gashed for first-half touchdowns of 61, 74 and 72 yards, respectively, in this past week’s region semifinal.
“We talked about it all week,” Eberhardt said. “As you win and move on you face progressively
HAVRE DE GRACE
tougher opponents and you can’t have those slow starts and expect to come back all the time. We need to get off to a faster start. I love the way we finish but I’d rather coast [with a lead] than claw our way back.”
Although the Warriors were down at halftime in the region semifinal, the coaching staff made the proper adjustments and the team came out firing in the second half.
“We make some adjustments [when we’ve needed to],” Eberhardt said. “We’ve come out with a game plan that we practiced all week, and if that doesn’t necessarily hold true during the game, we make those adjustments as necessary and that’s what you’re seeing, a result of the adjustments that we make.”
The Warriors only allowed one offensive touchdown in the second half last week and continue to see their young players mature.
“You hope that it boosts their confidence a little bit,” Eberhardt said of the youthful talent on his roster. “It’s refreshing to see that we were down 34-23 in the third quarter and we went on a 25-point run. [It] really shows you the character of your kids. We could have laid down and the game could have gotten out of control. The guys that have never had [playoff experience], hopefully they are maturing and getting that experience and hopefully not going to have slow starts in the future.”
Havre de Grace switched from the East Region to the North Region at the beginning of the 2016 season and is still learning about its new foes.
“There’s a lack of familiarity with Fairmont Heights and Surrattsville,” Eberhardt said of the opposition in the North Region. “Not only have we never seen them play, we don’t even know the opponents that they play. So it’s really hard to gauge a team and be familiar with the system that they run.”
Surrattsville will have to pass a huge test of its own when it faces the Havre de Grace passing combination of senior quarterback Mikey Flosser and junior receiver Jordan Day.
Flosser completed 75 percent of his passes a week ago and threw for nearly 350 yards, 218 of which were hauled in by his top target, Day.
“Jordan had some big catches in the fourth quarter of the state championship game last year,” Eberhardt said. “You talk about fortunate, we had him as a sophomore and he was able to produce in the state championship game and we have him here again for
next year. I mean it’s big. In addition to Jordan being a phenomenal player on the field, he is a first rate kid off the field. You couldn’t find a nicer kid and we’re fortunate to have him on our team.”
Havre de Grace has the chance to reach the 1A state final four for the second consecutive year with a win tonight, and the effects are far reaching for the Harford County football program.
“From a program standpoint, we are a small school with [about] 600 kids in the building,” Eberhardt said. “We don’t have a big student body to draw from, but when you have success two years in a row as we are experiencing right now, you hope that those fringe kids that thought about coming out or said, ‘I don’t know if I want to,’ ... [you start] getting those kids into your program, or the eighth grader who’s thinking maybe I want to go to John Carroll or one of the magnet schools in the county. Maybe the fact that you’re having a successful football program is one of the things that will play into the kid’s decision of where he wants to go to school. It helps us build our program and maintain our program.”
Senior quarterback Mike Flosser and the top-seeded Havre de Grace football team will host No.2 Surrattsville in the 1A North Region Final tonight.