Patriots football ends nine-year losing streak to Sparrows Point
Desperate to break a fourgame losing streak, the Patapsco football team eagerly accepted a second chance during its game at Loch Raven on Friday.
And a third chance. And a fourth chance. And a fifth chance. And a sixth chance ...
The Patriots and the Raiders battled into a fifth overtime period before Patapsco emerged with a 33-27 victory.
“Honestly, this feels like a season-saver,” Patapsco coach Tyler Clough said. “I didn’t think I was going to make it to the end of the game. We’d get a stop, not score ... I didn’t know if I had anything left.”
Patriot quarterback Dontaz Wilson finally ended the epic with a 10-yard run after the Patriots had stopped Loch Raven on its possession in the fifth overtime.
(In high school overtime, each team gets the ball starting at the opponent’s 10 yard line. This continues until one team ends a round with the lead.)
That play was set up by Patapsco’s first two possessions in overtime. Wilson pitched the ball to Andre Henderson each time, and Henderson scored on 10yard runs.
But Loch Raven, which went first in each round, had already scored on its possession so the game continued.
Clough went away from that play on Patapsco’s next two overtime possessions. Neither team scored in the third and fourth overtimes.
“I figured they would be looking for that play,” Clough said. “If we tried it three times in a row, they would probably be ready for it and intercept the pitchout.”
Loch Raven was forced to settle for a field goal attempt in the third overtime, and Patapsco blocked it. But the Patriots threw an interception on their possession.
The fourth overtime saw a reversal: Patapsco’s Dashawn Guglizza intercepted a Loch Raven pass, and a Patapsco field goal attempt was blocked.
In the fifth overtime, it was Loch Raven’s turn to have a field goal attempt blocked. On Patapsco’s possession, Clough decided to go back to what had worked — with a twist.
“I told Dontaz to run the same play, but for him to fake the pitchout and keep the ball,” Clough said.
Wilson sprinted into the end zone upright and untouched, winning the game and preserving Patapsco’s hopes for a winning season.
“We have a lot of underclassmen on this team,” Clough said. I want to get some momentum gonig into 2018. I think if we can go 5-0, 4-1 in our last five games, it will pay off in the long run.”
Patapsco (2-4) has games remaining at Lansdowne and against Woodlawn, Sparrows Point and High Point.
The Patriots, without productive running back Jose Padilla (out with an injury), were fortunate to get the game into overtime tied at 14-14.
Both Patapsco touchdowns during regulation came off of Loch Raven fumbles. One was an outright gift — a fumbled snap in the end zone on a punt attempt that was recovered by Bryan Newton-Epps — and the other was a muffed punt recovered by Patapsco at the Raider 22-yard line with 5:20 remaining in the game.
Wilson hit Henderson with a short pass over the middle on the next play. Henderson broke several tackles before lunging across the goal line.
Patapsco had driven into Loch Raven territory on its first two possessions of the game, turning the ball over on downs at the Raider 17 and 35-yard lines.
The Patriots lost a fumble early in the second quarter, and the Raiders turned it into a 29-yard touchdown pass and a 6-0 lead.
Patapsco responded by driving from its 35 to a first down at the Loch Raven twoyard line. But the Patriots were stuffed on four running plays and turned over the ball on downs at the three-yard line.
That indirectly led to a Patapsco touchdown, however, as the Raiders were forced to punt from their own 10-yard line. The punter fumbled the snap in the end zone and Newton-Epps simply picked up the ball for a touchdown.
It remained 7-6 until the fourth quarter, when the Raiders scored after a 68yard drive and added the two-point conversion for a 14-7 lead.
Fortunately for Patapsco, Jayden Epperly made each of his first three extra-point attempts. Had he missed any of the three, Patapsco would have lost the game.
The ball bounces away from Patapsco’s Antonio Cornish after the Loch raven punter fumbled the snap in the end zone. Bryan Newton-Epps (#11) recovered the ball for a touchdown. PHOTO BY BILL GATES
Patapsco’s Jayden Epperly kicks an extra point during the game against Loch Raven on Friday. Epperly converted three extra points; had he missed one, Patapsco would have lost the game.
Patapsco quarterback Dontaz Wilson scored the winning touchdown in the fifth overtime and also threw a game-tying touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against Loch Raven.
Patapsco’s Andre Henderson evades Jordan Mackey of Loch Raven as he scores a touchdown in the first overtime period.
Marcus Long of Patapsco leaps to catch a pass against Loch Raven.