War­riors find them­selves in fa­mil­iar place, fac­ing un­fa­mil­iar foe

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By MATT HICKS

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.”

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

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.

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