Trojans QB stellar in team’s first defeat of C-SD in 21 years, leading to state semifinal berth
CAMBRIDGE — Marcquan Greene scrambled back, two Cambridge-South Dorchester High defenders chasing him as he tried keeping them out of reach as long as possible as the play broke down.
After a few seconds, jinking right, then circling left, Kent County’s senior quarterback slid at midfield for a 17-yard loss, on the last play of Friday night’s Class 1A East Region football championship.
Had anyone been told before kickoff the game would end in such a manner, they’d have probably figured the Trojans would have lost to the Vikings yet again. After all, C-SD had won the last 25 straight. But not the 26th. Greene’s final touch, essentially a kneel-down, with a backward scramble added to kill a few more seconds off the game clock, capped a dominant performance, as the Trojans finally broke the Vikings’ grip on their rivalry with a 28-22 win that saw Kent rally twice in the second half.
The Trojans advance to next Saturday’s 1 p.m. state semifinal at unbeaten and three-time-defending state champion Fort Hill.
“I can’t describe it. I just can’t even tell you how good this feels,” Greene said. “We’ve worked so hard, waited so long, wanted this so much. I can’t even tell you.”
The win puts the Trojans in the state semifinals for the first time in 20 years — over a year before anyone on the team was born.
Greene, who had been moved from running back to slot receiver and finally to quarterback during his four-year varsity tenure, finished his team’s triumphant run with a flourish, racking up 312 yards on 34 carries, and completing the Trojans’ only pass, for 13 yards, giving him a hand in all but 17 yards of Kent County’s total offense. Defensively, he had eight tackles, including two for a loss, both team highs.
For Trojans head coach Brendon Ireton, whose squad has lost no fewer than three heartbreaking games to the Vikings in his four-season tenure, it was definitely one for the ages.
“I’ve just got to give credit to the team; these coaches and these players,” Ireton said. “This was probably one of the best games I’ve ever seen from an individual player . ... I’m very proud of the way the team finished this out . ... It hasn’t sunk in yet. It’ll probably sink in when I walk into the locker room.”
Coming out of the locker room to start the contest, the Trojans lost the opening toss and the kickoff, an onside by Tyler Harding that C-SD’s Aaron Collins recovered at the Trojan 49yard line. But the game’s opening drive came to less than nothing, the hosts losing two yards on three rushing attempts, the last when Greene tackled Cambridge-SD running back Taj Molock for a 3-yard loss on third down to force a punt.
Harding’s punt rolled to the Trojan 9, but Greene quashed any concern over field position by cutting left, leaping over a diving opponent, and running 83 yards for the game’s first touchdown, with 8 minutes, 28 seconds to go in the first quarter. C-SD blocked the extra-point try by Donnie Forgan, leaving the score 6-0, Trojans.
Greene’s ensuing onside kick squibbed off at an angle almost perpendicular to its intended one, rolling to a stop at the Trojans’ 46. On the next snap, Cambridge-SD’s Tre’ Lake (28 carries, 186 yards) ran it in from there. Harding’s point-after put the Vikings up 7-6, with 8:16 still to go on the first-quarter clock.
Each team had a couple of chances as the half progressed — a Greene pass to the 1-yard line was dropped on one drive, while a Harding try on the other end was intercepted by Kent’s Dashawn Lister at the 1-yard line as the half wound down.
“Kent County’s a great, great football team,” said C-SD head coach Jake Coleman, a player on the Vikings program that started the 25-game win streak in the late 1990s. “And Marcquan Greene, I’d have to say, is definitely one of the best athletes ever to come out of this conference.
“But we made some mistakes,” Coleman said. “And in the playoffs, you have to minimize those, you have to keep focus.”
The Trojans tried their second onside kick — there were a total of six by the teams — to begin the second half. Caught unaware, the Vikings failed to
recover, Silas Phillips giving Kent possession.
Greene’s 3-yard touchdown jaunt capped the ensuing six-play drive, putting Kent County up 14-7 following Takai Caulk’s 2-point conversion scamper, with 9:35 to go in the third.
The Vikings responded quickly. A 16-yard Lake run, followed by one for 47 by Molock, set up Lake’s 1-yard touchdown run. Down 14-13, C-SD set up for another Harding PAT, but the Trojans jumped offsides.
In response, Harding ran out, Lake came in to take a direct snap from the Wildcat scheme, and the 2-point run that followed put the hosts up 15-14.
On the following kickoff, Caulk grabbed the ball at his 5-yard line, dashed left and worked his way upfield. Getting a block inside the 10, Caulk worked to the 20, and then Patrick Culley laid perhaps the most important block of the night on a C-SD defender. The hit laid out one defender, forced a second into a bad pursuit angle, and sprung Caulk, who juked right, and ran into the end zone.
“Takai’s been making plays for us for a couple of years now,” Ireton said. “He made a great run, got good blocks, too.”
Caulk’s 95-yard run put the Trojans ahead — for good, as events would later prove — at 20-15, though a Greene conversion run came up about a foot short.
Having seen the success of his team’s second onside kick, Ireton called for a third. Kent recovered again, Jalen Henry grabbing it near midfield after a C-SD player bobbled and lost it. Seven plays and 51 yards later, Greene found the end zone again, his 20yard run, and subsequent 2-point conversion, making it 28-15 and bringing the 150-odd Kent County fans who made the 90-minute trip to Viking Stadium to their feet.
Ireton giving it one last try, Kent County’s fourth onside kick, however, went much like the first, going four yards and eliciting a flag for illegal procedure. Several snaps later, Lake’s 1-yard run capped a 56yard drive and a Harding PAT pulled the Vikings with 28-22 with 4:31 to go in the third.
C-SD came near the Trojan red zone on its next possession, but Tre’ Wright tackled Lake mere inches from a first down on a fourth-and-3 at the 27 to get the ball back on downs.
The next Trojan possession, 12 plays long and eating up 46 yards, and half the fourth-quarter clock, finally ended when C-SD senior Koby Jones picked off a Greene pass at the Vikings 10.
But that last gasp of the Vikings didn’t yield anything on the scoreboard, a botched snap and handoff rolling around midfield before Kent County’s Shakei Frazier fell on it with 1:44 to play in the game.
“We thought we had it on that last drive,” Coleman said. “We thought the old ghosts were going to come back, but we just came up short.”
The Trojans killed the remaining clock, Greene’s scamper on third-and-6 eating just enough time up that they didn’t have to punt — something they didn’t do the whole night.
“It’s tough right now, but, you know, end-of-the-season losses are,” Coleman said. “Only one 1A team will end the season happy. ... We knew coming in that this wouldn’t be a blowout. We knew, after we faced them [in Week 4], and they kind of abandoned the offense they were doing earlier in the year, and went to this option stuff, it would put us in some situations where you were darned if you do, and darned if you don’t.
“We had a couple of plays where we thought we had stopped him on fourth down, but he squeezed through and got it,” Coleman said. “They played better in the swing of things. A couple of the onside kicks they used in the second half were huge . ... I congratulate them. They’ve taken a couple of hard losses, and there’s no way you can feel they didn’t earn it, because they earned it . ... I wish those guys the best, the rest of the way out.”
Notes: Coming into Friday’s game, C-SD had won its last 47 straight against 1A teams in the Bayside Conference. C-SD’s last defeat on the field against a team of its own size category came Nov. 16, 2007, when Snow Hill eliminated the Vikings from the 1A East semifinals, 24-21. C-SD had to forfeit a 35-0, win over Washington on Sept. 11, 2009 due to the use of two underage assistant coaches . ... Kent County’s last trip to the state final four ended in a semifinal loss to C-SD in 1996, its third loss in the Vikings’ 25-game win streak . ... Havre de Grace, which defeated C-SD in the 1A East final last year, won the North on Friday, 1914, over Surrattsville. Kent County topped Havre de Grace in the regional finals two years ago; a second meeting was prevented when Edmondson upset top-seeded Reginald Lewis in the 1A South title game on Friday, earning the third seed in the state final four and a trip to face the No. 2 Warriors. Fort Hill, as the top seed, hosts the No. 4 team, which would’ve been Edmondson had C-SD won. Follow me on Twitter: @David_stardem.‹
Kent County’s Marcquan Greene splits two Cambridge-South Dorchester defenders on a 20-yard touchdown run in a 28-22 victory over the Vikings to win the 1A East Region Championship on Friday.
Kent County’s Takai Caulk is seen after last Friday’s Class 1A East Region championship win over Cambridge-SD.
Kent County head coach Brendon Ireton, left, congratulates Marcquan Greene (1) last Friday after the Trojans defeated Cambridge-South Dorchester 28-22 to win the 1A East Region championship.