With a possible 3A North regional playoff berth in the cards if they won at home on Saturday night, the C. Milton Wright Mustangs had to swallow a season-ending loss instead, as the visiting Bel Air Bobcats rallied for a touchdown with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter to take a 17-14 victory over the hosts.
The Saturday-night contest started slowly, with neither side able to piece together a scoring drive through the first two quarters.
With the scoreboard still reading 0-0 at the start of the third quarter, the game began to swing Bel Air's way when the Bobcats recovered a fumbled punt on the CMW 34-yard line. Eight plays after the recovery, on a fourth-and-27 play, Bel Air quarterback Matt Wallace quick kicked the ball to the Mustang two yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, with the Mustangs backed up into their own end zone, Mustangs' quarterback Omar Walker slipped after taking a hike and made contact with the ground, resulting in a safety for the Bobcats.
After getting the ball right back on the ensuing safety kick, the Bobcats needed just seven plays to produce a 54-yard touchdown drive. Bel Air running back Juwan Singletary capped the drive with a six-yard run to the end zone, and the Bobcats' extra-point attempt was good, giving the guests a 9-0 advantage.
The Mustangs finally put points on the board on their first possession of the fourth quarter, driving 77 yards on nine plays for their first touchdown. Ending the offensive push was quarterback Omar Walker, who sprinted across the goal line from 10 yards out on a weak-side bootleg play. CMW's point after kick went through, making the score 9-7.
After getting the ball back via a Bel Air punt, the Mustangs needed just three plays to take the lead. On the second play of the drive, Walker hit Will Hazelton with a 27-yard pass that put the Mustangs on the Bel Air 47, and the following play Walker hit Hazelton again, this time with a 47-yard touchdown pass. The extra-point was good and CMW led 14-9 with just over seven minutes left to play.
Bel Air took possession on its own 32, and, after pushing to the CMW seven yard line on eight plays, saw Singletary rumble into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night. Up by one, the Bobcats decided to go for two points, and Wallace delivered with a wild scramble into the end zone.
The Mustangs drove to the Bel Air 45 on their final possession, but turned the ball over on downs with a minute left after Walker's fourth-and-17 pass attempt was swatted down.
Bel Air took a knee twice and the game was a three-point Bobcat win.
With the victory, Bel Air ended its regular season at 5-5 overall and 3-3 in Chesapeake (upper) Division play. CMW fell to 7-3 overall and 4-2 against Chesapeake opponents.
Aberdeen holds off Fallston
In a season finale that featured two unanswered scoring spurts, host Aberdeen held on to beat Fallston, 27-21, in an UCBAC Chesapeake Division game played Saturday night.
With Aberdeen (4-2, 5-5) holding a 7-0 lead with less than five minutes to play in the first half, Fallston went to work on a 21-point run, courtesy of an Eagles turnover.
Aberdeen quarterback Eric Briggs tried to throw a quick out on the far sideline, but the ball was popped loose and Cougar Nick Schwartz scooped it out of the air and raced 44 yards for the score. Ryan Goode's first of three extra points tied the score 7-7 with 4:17 left on the clock.
Following a quick three-down series by Aberdeen, Fallston took over at its own 39. Quarterback Brandon Weinhold struck quick, finding receiver Brad Rose down the field for a 61-yard touchdown with 1:27 to play.
Aberdeen fumbled the ensuing kickoff at the Eagles 33. Seven plays later, Marc Badger scored from three yards out. Goode's extra-point pushed the lead to 21-7 with 21 seconds left in the half.
Almost as quickly as they grabbed and blew up a lead, Fallston (3-3, 7-3) had no answer for Aberdeen in the third quarter.
Aberdeen's Dante Warfield took the second-half kickoff back 70 yards to the Cougars 10-yard line. On second down, Briggs lofted a 10-yard touchdown pass to Nate McKinney. Eric Whittie's kick pulled the Eagles to within seven, 21-14.
Another short field for Aberdeen on its next possession also led to points. Warfield scored on an 18-yard run and Whittie's kick knotted the score at 21-21 with 8:47 left in the quarter.
Aberdeen then forced the Cougars out on downs again, getting possession near midfield at its own 45.