War­riors Short Against Rams

Eas­ton again has trou­ble fin­ish­ing drives in se­cond straight nar­row de­feat

The Star Democrat - - SPORTS - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­dem.com

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.”

PHOTO BY WIL­LIAM HAUFE

Park­side’s Mar­cus Yarns (5) slips through a hole dur­ing the first half of Thurs­day night’s 15-14 vic­tory over Eas­ton.

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