It was no secret what Kent Island was going to try to do when the Buccaneers showed up in Fallston Friday night for the Maryland Class 2A East Region football championship game.
The Buccaneers run the football, and in Friday's game, ran it almost exclusively with senior running back Evan Greenwood. Greenwood, who entered the game just 58 yards shy of 2,000, went well past it with a performance that yielded 264 yards and four touchdowns on 57 carries to lift his team over Fallston, 28-12, ending the Cougars' season at 11-1.
"22 was a very, very good athlete. He was short and low to the ground, but he was very muscular," Fallston senior Brad Rose said. "We kind of dropped our heads on a lot of tackles and with a guy like that, we all need to be on the ball at one time."
"We got a little nicked up, that hurt us a little bit," Cougars coach Dave Cesky said. "We had to scramble around some different positions, but that's no excuse. We made too many mistakes and we had a lot of penalties."
A Fallston turnover, one of four on the night, led to Greenwood's first score. The Cougars fumbled away the ball on their first play at their 27. Six Greenwood runs (18 in the first quarter) culminated with a five-yard score at the 8:01 mark. Patrick Garvey added his first of four point-after kicks for the 7-0 lead.
The Buccaneers were looking for more when their own trickery led to a treat for the Cougars. Kent Island running back Zach Smith took a pitch from quarterback James Fromert then lofted a pass that was picked off by Luke Reuter at the Fallston 10-yard line.
Two straight no-gain runs by Ross Mitchell led to quarterback Brandon Weinhold tossing a 46-yard pass to Vance Adesanya down the right sideline. It was not the last time the Cougars had success in the air on the right side. Later in the drive, Brad Rose beat a defender down the right side and hauled in a 35-yard touchdown. The extra-point kick failed when Reuter slipped on the wet ground.
Kent Island answered the Cougars 10-play, 90-yard scoring drive with their own. The Buccaneers marched 65 yards in 12 plays, all Greenwood runs, to take a 14-6 lead. Greenwood's second score came from four yards out.
Fallston, which trailed 14-6 at the half, came out passing to begin the second half. A pass interference call against Kent Island on first down was followed by an interception by Zach Goodrich at his own 47.
The turnover didn't result in any points, as Greenwood fumbled the ball back to Fallston four downs later at the Cougars' 30.
Late in the third quarter the Cougars put together another scoring drive to pull within two, 14-12. The drive started at the Fallston 20 and quickly moved to the Kent Island 42 on Weinhold's 38-yard pass to Niko Rice.
Monaghan ran 22 yards two plays later and a handful of plays after that, he scored on a three-yard run. The Cougars try for two points and a tie was stopped short with 3:47 left in the third quarter.
But just like the first Fallston score, Kent Island answered with another score. Greenwood capped the 70-yard drive with a seven-yard run. Greenwood opened the drive with a 20-yard run, his longest of the night.
Trailing 21-12 early in the fourth quarter, the Cougars were primed to score again. The first and goal call from the Kent Island 10 turned into another turnover when Monaghan was stripped of the ball and Kent Island's Goodrich recovered it.
Moments later Greenwood took off on what should have been his biggest run of the night, an 80-yard touchdown run, but a holding call nullified the score and eventually led to Kent Island punting from inside its own 10.
A 52-yard punt, however, put Fallston at its own 38, the Cougars best starting field position of the game.
An illegal shift penalty against the Cougars on first down put them in a hole. Weinhold threw three incomplete and was sacked on fourth down, forcing the Cougars to go for it with less than 4:00 to play.
The turnover on downs led to the final Greenwood touchdown, a five-yard run with 2:03 to play.
Goodrich then added his second interception for the Buccaneers to close out the game.