Warriors Short Against Rams
Easton again has trouble finishing drives in second straight narrow defeat
EASTON — Pat McGlinchey tipped his visor to the opposition for a second straight week.
And for a second straight week, Easton High’s head football coach walked off the field feeling like his team would have won if it could have just finished.
Parkside running back Marcus Yarns carried 21 times for 155 yards, and capped what proved to be the winning drive with a 10-yard touchdown run and a twopoint conversion run with 5 minutes, 33 seconds remaining Thursday night, as the Rams rallied from a 14-point deficit to defeat Easton, 1514, at Warrior Stadium.
“I hope I’m not offending anybody, but I really felt like we handed it to Queen Anne’s and we handed it to Parkside tonight,” McGlinchey said after Easton slipped to 1-2. “Simply, we’re not finishing. If we had finished off our drives then we win both these games and we’re 3-0.”
The Warriors scored on their first two drives against the Rams. Sophomore quarterback Ryan O’Connor hit Thatcher Knox with a 26-yard touchdown pass to punctuate a nine-play, 76yard opening march and Alek Riedel added the extra-point kick for a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Easton drove 60 yards on its next possession, with O’Connor connecting with Grant Copper for a 5-yard scoring pass with 2:50 left in the first quarter. Riedel again applied the point-after touchdown for a 14-0 lead.
Parkside (2-1) began pounding away at Easton with its ground game, moving from its 39 into Warrior territory before Devian White broke loose for a 20yard touchdown run 1:09 into the second quarter. Seth Carter tacked on the extra point, drawing the Rams within 14-7.
Aided by two roughingthe-passer penalties, an unsportsmanlike conduct and a pass interference flag, Easton went from its 31 to the Rams’ 5 on its ensuing possession. An unsportsmanlike penalty pushed the
Warriors back to the Parkside 20. O’Connor hit Harry Callahan for a 16-yard pickup to the 4, setting up firstand-goal.
But Parkside’s defense held.
Easton’s Jarin Winters bulled down to the 1 on first down, then was stopped for no gain. The Rams dropped Zach Bramble for a 3-yard loss on third down, setting up a 21-yard field-goal attempt. But on the fake fieldgoal attempt, Parkside’s JaBrontae Mills wrestled Winters down for a 15-yard loss, giving the Rams possession.
“It was huge,” McGlinchey said of the missed scoring chance. “We drove right down the field, we took a good chunk of time up and we just weren’t able to put it in. Not punching it in was a huge momentum shift, although I still felt we had a chance in the third quarter. We drove down the field and just stalled out.”
It seemed every time the Warriors had Yarns stalled or surrounded for a possible loss, the Parkside junior squirmed loose, shedding tacklers and making big gains.
The biggest of those may have come on a first-and-10 from the Warrior 42 midway through the fourth quarter, and Parkside still trailing by seven. Yarns swept left, hit the brakes, escaped three tackle attempts, reversed his field and raced down the sideline for a touchdown that was erased by a personal-foul penalty on the Rams.
Parkside maintained possession at the Warrior 31. Yarns carried for 21 yards, then ran for a 10-yard touchdown to pull the Rams within
14-13 with 5:33 remaining. Parkside head coach Brendan Riley never hesitated in going for two, watching as Yarns again sprinted around left end, and reached the ball over the pylon for a 1514 Rams lead.
“Before they scored that last touchdown we had number five, I believe his name is Marcus, in the backfield five yards deep,” McGlinchey said. “And Jarin Winters had him. And he’s one of our best tacklers and couldn’t bring the kid down. The kid just had it felt like a supernatural ability to get out of that tackle and then he reversed field. I mean it should have been a touchdown, but they had a peelback block.
“He just did an outstanding job tonight,” Riley said of Yarns. “The kid’s a player and did what he needed.”
After a short return on the ensuing kickoff, Easton started at its own 27, went backwards 22 yards, and punted. Parkside’s ensuing possession ate up just a little over a minute of clock and the Rams punted, giving the Warriors the ball on their 20. After three straight incompletions, the Warriors tried the same hookand-ladder play that went for a touchdown last week against Queen Anne’s. But this time Easton came up a yard short, turning the ball over on downs and allowing the Rams to run out the clock.
“I thought we had the hosses in the backfield to keep running at ‘em,” Riley said. “And I knew that if we just continued to do our game plan and really attack them, I thought that offensively we were going to be in a position to continue to move the ball. And that’s what we were able to do.
“And I thought our defense played extremely well,” added Riley, whose team didn’t surrender a point after the first quarter.
While the Warriors reduced their penalties from last Friday’s loss to Queen Anne’s, McGlinchey was again frustrated by his team’s tackling.
“Again the tackling is the problem,” McGlinchey said. “I feel like our penalties weren’t as bad tonight. We had a couple bad ones at wrong times, but number wise they definitely went down this week.
“But again it comes down to the tackling and the reaching for it,” McGlinchey added. “You’ve got to run through your tackles.”
Parkside’s Marcus Yarns (5) slips through a hole during the first half of Thursday night’s 15-14 victory over Easton.