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to senior Jor­dan Mar­ciano on third down that even­tu­ally led to Fin­lay’s first TD for a 14-0 ad­van­tage.

“Those guys took it per­son­ally,” Fer­rag­amo said of the line. “You hear about Park­side and their wish­bone, their dou­ble-tight, how they’re a down­hill run­ning foot­ball team, and our guys are like, ‘Wait a minute, we’re a down­hill run­ning foot­ball team.’ Park­side has some big bod­ies in there, we re­ally got in there and drove them.”

Kent Is­land has dates re­main­ing at home against Wi­comico, at Oak­dale, a home tilt with Eas­ton be­fore fin­ish­ing up with mar­quee road matchups with North Caro­line and Queen Anne’s County in Week 9 and Week 10.

The Class 2A East is cur­rently jam­packed, with North Caro­line, Kent Is­land, Har­ford Tech and Elk­ton all sitting at 5-0. Fer­rag­amo said home field is not much of a fac­tor since the four cur­rent play­off teams are so evenly matched.

The squad’s de­fense has also been air­tight through­out most games, hav­ing al­lowed only 22 points com­ing into this week. The 19 scored by the ath­letic Rams ac­count for nearly 50 per­cent of Kent Is­land’s points-against col­umn of the ledger, senior back Nayel Oge’s 140 yards on 21 car­ries lead­ing Park­side’s hearty ef­fort.

“Re­turn­ing six guys from last year helps, for sure,” Bucs de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Tim Goodrich said. “Some of our younger guys are get­ting it, start­ing to get it a lit­tle bit. Park­side is a tal­ented of­fense, we knew we had our hands full.

“Our goal was try­ing to con­tain him, and get three or four guys in on the tackle,” Goodrich added of stop­ping Oge. “We knew he was a big, strong run­ning back.”

Kent Is­land in­ter­cepted Park­side quar­ter­back An­drew Smith twice — senior Sean Mooney, then Fin­lay — and spe­cial teams also pres­sured the Rams into a bad snap on a punt, which was re­cov­ered by the vis­i­tors on their own 4. That led to Jack­son’s sneak two plays later, putting the Bucs up 24-7.

“We looked at this game as one of our big­gest com­pe­ti­tions, yet,” Mooney said. “We just fo­cused on keep­ing everyone in the box, mak­ing tack­les, everyone swarm­ing to the ball and hope­fully mak­ing plays.

“I think the sec­ond half of the sea­son, we’re all go­ing to buy in and be fo­cused,” Mooney added. “We just have to all come to­gether and buy in.”

Park­side senior Destin Richard­son got his team on the board with a 40-yard touch­down dash in the sec­ond quar­ter for the Rams’ only score of the first half, which con­cluded with the Buc­ca­neers ahead 14-7.

Gar­vey’s field goal and Jack­son’s keeper fol­lowed, and Oge scored his lone touch­down to pull the Rams within 24-13 with 4 min­utes, 15 sec­onds left in the fourth. Fin­lay’s sec­ond score, a 10-yarder, capped a drive be­gin­ning with an un­suc­cess­ful Park­side on­side kick at­tempt and then six straight Fin­lay runs: 11, 21 on a mid­dle to left burst, 11, no gain, 11 and then the 10 to pay­dirt.

Fin­lay ap­peared to get stronger as the game pro­gressed, and re­peat­edly gained ex­tra yards with sec­ond, third, even fourth ef­forts.

“He fought a lit­tle too hard to­day on one carry,” Fer­rag­amo said in jest about Fin­lay suf­fer­ing cramps af­ter a tough run; he was helped off the field but re­turned no worse for wear. “Some­times it’s time to go down, but you can’t fault the kid for his work ethic, and we trust him ... he’s not go­ing to put us in a bad spot.”

A 49-yard catch-and-run for a TD be­tween Smith and Tyler Poul­son closed Park­side’s fi­nal gap. The Rams also con­nected on a sweet, hook-and-lad­der in the fourth quar­ter, Smith hit­ting Poul­son near the right side­line for 8 be­fore Poul­son tossed it back to Richard­son for 30 more.

The Rams com­piled a more than re­spectable 268 yards on 43 plays, av­er­ag­ing 6.2 yards a snap. The two Smith in­ter­cep­tions, the bad snap on the punt, and an­other punt that went for a net mi­nus-4 yards af­ter the spe­cial teams let the carom roll back al­most 20 yards be­fore some­one scooped the ball, ul­ti­mately en­sured there were plenty of mo­men­tumshift­ing pos­ses­sions for Kent Is­land.

“Right now, we’ve done some good things, we’ve done some things where we have bit our­selves, you know, and that’s what hap­pened tonight,” Ri­ley said. “We can’t play against a good team and then all of a sud­den not be in a sit­u­a­tion to cap­i­tal­ize.

“We’re 3-2, we have five games, and we de­ter­mine where we go with our ef­fort,” he added. “Kent Is­land, they run a good scheme ... and their back did a re­ally nice job press­ing the hole and was mak­ing some good cut­backs.”

Wi-Hi (3-2) is next for Kent Is­land, 7 p.m., Fri­day at Schipul Sta­dium. The In­di­ans could be more than just a tuneup be­fore Kent Is­land trav­els to face Class 3A West power Oak­dale (5-0), not that any­one from the Bucs would ever look past the next op­po­nent.

“You are what your record says you are, and right now we’re a 5-0 team, ex­tremely happy about that,” Fer­rag­amo said. “It was good com­ing in here and get­ting a re­ally good, qual­ity op­po­nent like Park­side and re­ally step­ping up de­fen­sively. Be­ing able to stop that kind of a run is a feather in the cap of Tim Goodrich and the de­fense.”

Added Goodrich: “We do what we do: we worry about our­selves and pre­pare for it one week at a time. We’ll worry about Oak­dale when it’s Oak­dale week, we’ll worry about Queen Anne’s when it’s Queen Anne’s week, and we’ll worry about Caro­line when it’s Caro­line week. This week, we’ll worry about Wi-Hi.” Fol­low on Twit­ter @Ay­man_S­tarDem.

Email at aalam@star­dem.com

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