Colonels’ run ends in loss at No. 1 HDG
Warriors’ five TDs in the second quarter blow open region semi
HAVRE DE GRACE — Having capped an historic regular season, which included earning only its second playoff berth in school history, the Colonel Richardson High football team hoped to add to its legacy Friday night.
But the only thing colder than the breezy 30-degree conditions at James R. Harris was the welcome the Colonels got from host Havre de Grace.
The Warriors, who reached the Class 1A state championship in each of the two previous seasons, scored on all but one drive, and blew open a two-score game with five touchdowns in the final 8½ minutes of the first half, rolling to a 56-6 victory in a 1A East semifinal.
Top-seeded Havre de Grace (10-1) will host No. 2 seed Bohemia Manor (7-4) on Friday at 7 p.m. for the 1A East title. The Eagles defeated No. 3 Cambridge-South Dorchester on Friday, 35-21, to advance.
Fourth-seeded Colonel finished 6-5, the program’s best record ever after 11 games.
“I do think they were a better team than us,” Colonel head coach Dan Mangum said, “but I don’t think that we played our best game, either, so that plays into it.
“And when you’re playing a team that good you have to grind, have to have your best game, and I don’t think that we had nearly that,” Mangum added. “I think that last week against North Caroline, we played inspired. I mean, good God, the first quarter and a half we were right there with ‘em the whole time.
“But (tonight) we just didn’t have that,” Mangum
said. “I saw this against Wi-Hi (a Week 3 road loss), and saw it again last night. We just didn’t play our best game. But again, that being said, Havre de Grace was a better team.”
The Colonels lost the coin toss, and then the opening kickoff was bobbled by its recipient at the 2-yard line. Though he recovered it, the return made it to just the 12yard line.
Setting up shop from there, Colonel ran the ball on first down for no gain, and on second down, quarterback Jake Zebron threw incomplete. But on third-and-10, it looked like they had something good going, Zebron hitting Tyler Stanton over the middle to the Havre de Grace 37-yard line — a gain of 51 yards.
But the gain was negated by an ineligible receiver downfield call against Colonel. The subsequent third-and-15 pass by Zebron, intended for Dakota Wilson, fell incomplete, forcing a punt.
Havre de Grace took over at Colonel’s 45 — the hosts started just one drive in their own territory all night — and quickly took the lead.
Jasai Stansbury (seven carries, 32 yards) scored on a 5-yard run to make it 6-0. Place-kicker Clay Harris, who’s planning to try out for the football team next year at the University of Maryland as a walkon, kicked the first of eight pointafter tries to make it 7-0, Warriors, with 7 minutes, 58 seconds to go in the first quarter.
Colonel, which started just one drive outside its own red zone, got a first down on its next possession, but after a sack of Zebron on a pass play, and a 6-yard loss on a fumbled handoff the next snap, Colonel punted.
Warrior returner Jordan White received the punt at his team’s 33, and returned it almost to the Colonel 20, but a penalty for an illegal block in the back moved it to the Colonel 45 for the second straight drive.
Again, Havre de Grace punched it in, this time Stansbury finding the end zone on a run from 12 yards out to make it 14-0.
Colonel, unable to get much going as the half went on, fell in a deeper hole as the second quarter wound down. Stansbur y’s 4-yard touchdown run with 8:34 to go in the half made it 21-0, and a succession of Colonel three-and-outs, Havre de Grace drives starting in Colonel territory, and quick-strike scores led to 35 more home-team points.
A 17-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Alex Gresock to Jordan Day, then a 21-yarder, accounted for the next two scores, enabling the second-half slaughter clock. But Havre de Grace kept coming, a 26-yard interception return by Sean Greely making it 42-0 with 2:49 left in the half.
White’s 18-yard TD run with 35 seconds to go before intermission capped the Warriors’ furious second-quarter surge.
Havre de Grace got its final score with about 10 minutes left, Gresock hitting Devin Morse for an 18-yard touchdown pass.
Colonel busted up the Warriors’ shutout bid in the final minutes, TyMir Foster (14 carries, 92 yards) dashing 44 yards for a score to make it 56-6 — giving the senior a memory few have: scoring a touchdown in the playoffs on his last offensive play. Havre de Grace blocked Remy Mangum’s PAT, and the Warriors took a knee to kill the final seconds left to play.
“I was glad to see TyMir score on that,” Dan Mangum said. “He played hard last night; of course he plays both ways. He really left it all out there.”
Colonel will graduate eight players, but several play on both sides of the ball, leaving 11 holes in the team’s 22 starting positions heading into the 2018 campaign, most on offense.
“I think defensively we’ll be solid next year. Our defensive line is back, our ends and our corners are back. I think all we need on defense is maybe a linebacker and a free safety,” Dan Mangum said. “Where we’ll have the big question mark will be on offense.
“We lose both wings on offense,” said Coach Mangum, whose team has run the double-wing for decades. “And, yeah, we lose our quarterback, and a couple of offensive linemen. ... So that’s where we’re really going to feel it more next year. ... I think defensively we’ll be fine. I just think our offensive side of the ball is where we’re going to feel the sting more. “It’s been great to do this, this year,” he added. “It’s odd, though; for the baseball team, if they don’t make the state [playof fs], it’s a down year and they’re mad. For football, if we make the playoffs it’s a big, big thing. And I’d like to do something about that.
“We took over this program four years ago,” Mangum said. “And the first year it was about establishing us as competitive. The next year (2015) we were 4-6 and just missed the playoffs. Last year we were 4-5 and just missed; I think if we didn’t have that last-minute drop[ped game against Reginald Lewis], we might have made the playoffs. ... We just have to start to establish this program the was they’ve done with baseball for so many years, years before I was even there.”
“Here as a culture, as far as Colonel’s culture, winning 6 games and making the playoffs that’s just the best year ever,” Dan Mangum concluded. “We want to do more. Our attitude should be not glad that we just made it, it should be, ‘We’re here now, let’s play, let’s play inspired, let’s make a run.’ We put up a lot of points this year, had two shutouts; when you’re talking about a team that had 22-24 kids on our roster, that’s pretty impressive.”
Colonel Richardson quarterback Jake Zebron rolls right on a pass play during the third quarter of Friday night’s game, while linemen John Weiss (55) and John Carter (56) provide protection.
Colonel Richardson’s Karon Raikes (11) brings down Havre de Grace receiver Jordan White during the third quarter of Friday night’s game.