The day before Steve Turnbaugh guided Hereford against Milford Mill in a key Baltimore County football game Thursday night in Parkton, the veteran coach said he was looking forward to getting past the Bulls' first three opponents relatively unscathed.
After the way his team dropped a 21-17 heartbreaker in the last 25 seconds to the Millers (1-1) on a scintillating 82-yard run by senior Jamaal Morant, it's no wonder Turnbaugh is ready to move on.
A loss to reigning Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference champion St. Paul's last week, 35-21, was a difficult enough to take.
The setback to Milford Mill had to hurt even more, and with Franklin on the Bulls' agenda next week, there's no rest for the weary Bulls.
Milford, on the other hand, was ecstatic after the comeback on a 4th-and-12 from its own 18-yard line on a desperation play suggested by Morant and executed to perfection by junior quarterback Deonte White.
"I told my coach a 49-speed option would work," he said about the pitch play. "Deonte made a great play getting me the ball. When I got to the sideline there wasn't much room, so I had to tightrope a little bit."
It took both teams some time to shake off rust from a 40-minute lightning delay, Although at the outset it looked like Milford Mill might literally run roughshod over the Bulls.
Morant, a 5-foot-6, 200-pound quick-hitting running back, snapped off a couple of runs that Hereford stopped after moderate gains.
That changed in the second quarter when the senior rocketed through the middle of the Bulls' defense, cut to his left and then bolted back inside on a 43-yard touchdown run to give the Millers a 6-0 advantage.
But Hereford rallied on a seven-play, 45-yard drive capped by senior quarterback Wyatt Bosley's 24-yard scoring pass to senior running back Adam Ceribelli with 1:31 left in the first half to take a 7-6 lead
A fumbled snap on a punt helped the Bulls record a safety early in the third quarter to increase the margin to 9-6.
The Millers, though, came back themselves after a drive stalled at the Hereford 3-yard line midway through the fourth quarter.
With 4:20 remaining in the game, Deonte White connected with senior wideout Reggie White for a 29-yard touchdown.
Hereford responded after a long kickoff return by junior running back Jamal Cody gave the Bulls possession at the Milford Mill 40.
From there, runs by Ceribelli, Cody and Bosley drove the ball to the visitors 3-yard line. Bosley did the rest, lugging the ball up the middle for a 17-14 lead.
On the ensuing drive by Milford Mill, Morant swept 82 yards for the game winner to send Turnbaugh to an 0-2 mark for the first time in his 19-year tenure at his alma mater.
Milford's a good team, and good teams find ways to win," Turnbaugh said. "Right now, we're not very good, and we found a way to lose. We let this game slip right through our fingers.
M 0 6 0 15 21
H 0 7 2 8 17
M-Morant 43 run (kick failed)
H-A. Ceribelli 24 pass from Bosley (Oursler kick)
M-R. White 29 pass from D. White (D. White run)
H-Bosley 3 run (Cody run)
M-Morant 82 run (Otero kick)