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.
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