Catonsville running back Joseth Hylton is only 5 feet 7, 160 pounds, but he came up big when he scored on a 2-yard run with 27.8 seconds left in regulation to give No. 7 Catonsville (2-0) a thrilling 28-21 victory over host Perry Hall (0-2).
"This team is like my family so I'm going to do whatever it takes to get the win," said Hylton, who ran behind right tackle Mason Klompus and right guard Zack Delker. "I'm kind of small so I just tried to squeeze in there."
Hylton (12 carries, 116 yards) also had a 26-yard run on the 11-play 73-yard drive that began with 5:12 remaining.
"When you go 70-some yards in five minutes that's pretty good running," said Catonsville coach Rich Hambor, whose squad rushed for 332 yards one week after they ran for 321.
"We have three great backs in DeAndre, Joseth and Julian," Hambor said. "DeAndre ran the first half and Joseth ran the second half because he was fresh."
"I give Rich credit," Perry Hall coach Keith Robinson said. "They have stuck with that recipe for 15 years. They line up and they run the ball."
The game-winning drive started after T.J. Henry sacked Perry Hall quarterback Chris Ricker and forced a fumble that was recovered by Darius Williams.
It also erased a penalty-filled first half for the Comets.
One week after Catonsville committed just three penalties in a season-opening 27-7 victory over Boys' Latin, the Comets were flagged 12 times for 100 yards in the first half alone.
The Gators seized the momentum late in the first half and built a 14-13 halftime lead on touchdown runs by John Myers (2 yards) and Eric Latham (20 yards) and a pair of extra points by Myers, who also forced touchbacks on every kickoff.
"Myers is a kid that leaves his guts out on the field every night," Perry Hall coach Keith Robinson said.
Latham finished with 165 yards rushing on 17 carries.
Myers, who had the distance, but missed a 41-yard field goal on Perry Hall's first possession of the night, redeemed himself with stellar play at linebacker.
The explosive Comets scored first when DeAndre' Lane broke free on an 80-yard touchdown run on the Comets' first play from scrimmage on their second possession.
Garrett Wack's extra point pushed the lead to 7-0 with 7:37 left in the first quarter.
On the Gators next drive, they went 53 yards and Wilson scored behind the blocking of John Eltringham and Jason Folz.
The Comets answered with a 22-play 80 yard drive that lasted 15:42 and ended with a short touchdown pass from Justin Sprankle to Teddy Crayton, but Perry Hall responded with a 4-play 39-yard drive.
The Gators scored on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Iweh to Zach Chmielewski take a 21-13 lead with 8:35 left in the third quarter.
But the momentum turned when Catonsville's Marvin Lambert stopped Myers on fourth and one from the Gators' own 25.
"I probably should have kicked it, but the kids wanted it so bad and I told them at halftime I wanted to see guys ask for the ball and that's what they asked for and I gave it to them, so I don't regret that at all," Robinson said.
On the next play after the failed fourth down, Sprankle connected on another touchdown to Crayton.
"Both of those catches (by Crayton) were great catches," Robinson said.
Lane (25 carries, 173 yards) ran for the two-point conversion with 1:04 left in the third quarter and set up the dramatic final quarter.
"It was a great Friday night game, a great atmosphere but these are tough ones to swallow," Robinson said.