10:32 PM EST, November 18, 2011
The Perryville Panthers record-setting football season continued Friday night with a region championship.
Perryville, sparked by two 70-plus yard passing touchdowns in the third quarter, beat visiting Cambridge-South Dorchester, 21-10, to win the Maryland Class 1A East region title.
The Panthers (12-0) advance to next week's state semifinals at a place and time to be determined. This will be the Panthers first trip to the state football semifinals.
In somewhat of a see-saw battle, Perryville found itself trailing 10-6 midway through the third quarter. On first down from their own 26, the Panthers went from a shotgun formation. Quarterback Gabe Sherrod hit Ethan Griffen across the middle 15 yards down the field and Griffen did the rest, racing 59 yards more for the 74-yard touchdown. The failed conversion left the Panthers ahead 12-10 with 5:20 left in the third quarter.
As if lightning struck twice, the same combination lit up the scoreboard three minutes later. On third and 20 from their own 22, the Panthers went back to the pass, across the middle to Griffen, who streaked into the end zone untouched on a 78-yard score. Another failed conversion by pass left the game a one score deal with Perryville leading 18-10.
Prior to the big passes, Perryville was reeling a bit. Eddie Escobar fumbled the second half kickoff and Cambridge recovered at the Panthers' 21.
Three plays later, Vikings running back Jalen Cornish scored on a 9-yard run. Brad Dennis added the conversion kick for a 10-6 Cambridge lead.
The Panthers fumbled the ensuing kickoff as well, but recovered it to escape further damage. Sherrod, however, fumbled the ball on the next snap after getting sacked, losing 25 yards.
Cambridge led earlier in the game as well. Dennis kicked a 31-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 6:01 left in the third quarter.
Perryville answered the points with its first points. A 40-yard screen pass to Griffen set up three straight runs by Joe Peaker, the third an 11-yard touchdown run.
The Panthers added the game's final points in the fourth quarter on a 27-yard field goal by Jacob Morgan.
The Vikings, who saw their season end at Havre de Grace a year ago, finish 8-4.
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