Cecil Whig - - LOCAL SPORTS - Spe­cial to the Whig

ELK­TON — En­ter­ing its mid-sea­son clash against sec­ond-ranked — and un­de­feated — Elk­ton, No. 1 Havre de Grace had an op­por­tu­nity to re­main un­beaten them­selves and stake an early claim for the Ch­e­sa­peake Divi­sion crown.

Be­hind a dom­i­nat­ing sec­ond­half per­for­mance, which fea­tured 32 unan­swered points, the War­riors (6-0 over­all, 3-0 divi­sion) up­ended Elk­ton (5-2, 2-1) with a 39-14 win Fri­day. They ap­pear to be click­ing on all cylin­ders as they aim to make a run for a third straight 1A state cham­pi­onship game ap­pear­ance, their first state crown since 1986, and fourth over­all ti­tle in pro­gram his­tory.

En­ter­ing half­time trail­ing 14-7, and hav­ing missed sev­eral op­por­tu­ni­ties in­side Elk­ton ter­ri­tory, the War­riors looked to their leader dur­ing the in­ter­mis­sion.

“Coach Brian [Eber­hardt] said it’s nothing to do with [our] game plan or any­thing, [but] it’s all in our hearts and stuff,” ju­nior quar- ter­back Alex Gre­sock said of his coach’s half­time speech. “‘We need get out there, play phys­i­cal and want this win’. When we came out, I think it was 32 or 33 unan­swered points, [which] shows that we came out with some fire.”

Gre­sock did his part to fuel the big sec­ond half. After find­ing his trusted se­nior re­ceiver Jor­dan Day ear­lier in the game for a 50 yard score, he con­tin­ued his air as­sault in the third quar­ter by find­ing Day for a 63-yard touch­down pass that cut the deficit to one point (14-13 Elk­ton).

“He’s a big-time player and big­time play­ers show up in big-time games. [And] that’s ex­actly what he did.” Eber­hardt said of Day. “We’re talk­ing about a kid that’s go­ing to play an­other four years after he grad­u­ates, and you saw why tonight.”

Greysock later found Chris­tian Pen­row for a 47-yard pass that set up a 6-yard rush­ing touch­down by Sean Gree­ley. A 5-yard touch­down pass to Jor­dan White, who ripped the ball away from an Elk­ton de­fen­sive back in the end zone, put the game out of reach.

After six games, the War­riors of­fense is av­er­ag­ing 39.1 points per game.

“I knew my wide­outs’ abil­i­ties and I knew they could beat them [down field].” Gre­sock said. “I don’t mean that to be ar­ro­gant, but they are re­ally good and I trust them to get open. [This win] feels great, es­pe­cially against a tough op­po­nent like Elk­ton. [It’s a] re­ally great win. It shows that we can score against any­one and we have a real good line.

“At first we couldn’t get those big plays go­ing, but then in the sec­ond half we started ground­ing and pound­ing [with our run­ning game] and it started open­ing up those big plays. It shows we can adapt to what we need to do.”

Gre­sock, who took over at quar­ter­back fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Mikey Flosser, has proven he can han­dle run­ning the of­fense in his first sea­son — and also put up huge num­bers while he’s at it. His skillset not only al­lows him to get the ball to his play­mak­ers, but also scram­ble for large gains when needed.

Although the of­fense has kept the score­board op­er­a­tor busy this sea­son, the de­fense and spe­cial teams have also been a huge rea­son for the War­riors’ suc­cess. On Fri­day, the de­fen­sive front, led by Reg­gie Marks and Jesse Fen­ner, found suc­cess against Elk­ton, hold­ing con­sen­sus All-State run­ning back Raiquon Estep to just one rush­ing touch­down.

Elk­ton play­ers were vis­i­bly frus­trated by the power-kick­ing leg of con­sen­sus All State place­kicker Clay Har­ris, who, even on a slow night (two blocked field goals), made a dif­fer­ence with mul­ti­ple touch­backs that pinned the Elk’ of­fense at their own 20yard line re­peat­edly

Day was one of the Havre de Grace play­ers that shined on both sides of the ball, build­ing on his two of­fen­sive touch­downs with im­pact­ful tack­les in the sec­ondary and a first-half in­ter­cep­tion in Elk­ton ter­ri­tory.

“Our de­fense is very phys­i­cal, [and] we will out-phys­i­cal any­body, that’s our motto. We’re go­ing to out-phys­i­cal the other team and that’s what we did today.” Day said of his team’s de­fense, which has al­lowed 5.5 points per game. “We prac­tice so hard to­gether, we watch a lot of film to­gether and we are a fam­ily. We do what we need to do to win every week.”

Havre de Grace has four op­po­nents re­main­ing be­fore the post­sea­son, and holds a large points lead over Bo Manor and Per­ryville in the race for the 1A North Re­gion’s top seed. Once again, the War­riors ap­pear des­tined to meet Fort Hill (6-0) in the state cham­pi­onship game for a third-straight sea­son.

“Ob­vi­ously, you’re ask­ing me after we just beat 5-0 Elk­ton, [and] I feel pretty good about that.” Eber­hardt said of Fri­day’s vic­tory. “I mean they [Elk­ton] are an amaz­ing foot­ball team and they are go­ing to win a lot more foot­ball games, so mov­ing for­ward, I feel very con­fi­dent with the guys that we have. Again, we talked about it be­ing an ex­pe­ri­enced group. Most of th­ese guys have played in two state cham­pi­onship games, so mov­ing for­ward, the big thing for us is to stay healthy and keep guys be­ing able to play the next week.”

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