On an unusually warm night for the ninth week of the high school football season, the action didn't cool off.
The marquee match-up was in Fallston, where the Cougars were able to stay unbeaten against North Harford in a key UCBAC Chesapeake (upper) Division battle. In other Chesapeake action, Aberdeen edged Perryville, Patterson Mill beat Havre de Grace and Bel Air nipped C. Milton Wright.
In Susquehanna (lower) Division play, Edgewood handled Joppatowne, while Harford Tech was beaten by Elkton.
Fallston outlasts North Harford
The Fallston Cougars added a little spice to a budding rivalry on Friday night, making two big defensive stops in the final five minutes of their home-field contest with North Harford to take a 19-14 victory over the visiting Hawks.
Since 2007, the two teams have played seven times, with North Harford winning four of the contests, and Fallston three. Friday's win made the Cougars the lone UCBAC squad with three victories against North Harford over that span. Fallston last won the matchup in 2011, when they defeated the Hawks, 35-20, and three seasons before that the Cougars topped North Harford, 35-7.
The 2012 installment of the Fallston vs. North Harford game saw the Hawks slip away with a 14-13 victory, having thwarted a last-second, two-point conversion attempt from the Cougars.
In Friday's showdown at Fallston, the hosts trailing, 14-13, with less than seven minutes left in the fourth quarter took possession of the ball on their own six-yard line following a North Harford punt. The Cougars, mixing between the run and pass as they drove out of their own territory, eventually made it to the opposing eight-yard line, where they faced a first-and-goal play. Fallston quarterback Brendan Weinhold handed off to running back Andrew Monaghan, who busted through the line, shed one tackler and dove across the line for what would be the winning score.
Fallston went for the two-point conversion after their final touchdown, but Weinhold's pass to the end zone was tipped by North Harford, leaving the score 19-14 in the hosts' favor.
North Harford took the ball back with 4:50 left on the clock and got off one first down, but then turned over the ball on downs after a recovered fumble and three incomplete passes.
Fallston killed just over a minute off the clock on its next possession before punting back to North Harford, which recovered on its own 36 with 2:05 left.
On the second play of the drive, North Harford's Nic Hammer unleashed a long pass over the middle, and there to step in for the interception was Fallston's Brad Rose, who immediately kneeled the ball on the Cougars' 48.
Three running plays later, Fallston was facing a fourth-and-inches near midfield, and the Cougars decided to go for it. The decision proved fruitful, as Monaghan powered for two yards and the first down. The Cougars ran out the last minute left on the clock, and the victory was theirs.
North Harford broke a scoreless tie with 30 seconds left in the first quarter, when Zach Edwards broke loose from 30 yards out for a touchdown. Sean Bowling added the point-after kick to give the Hawks a 7-0 edge.
At the 9:25 mark in the second quarter, following a Fallston push to the North Harford two-yard line, the Cougars' Ross Mitchell powered into the end zone for his team's first touchdown. Luke Reuter hit the extra-point kick, tying the game at seven points apiece.
With just under 90 seconds left before halftime, the Hawks went back ahead, when Hammer hit Ryan Feiss with a 21-yard touchdown pass. Bowling's converted extra-point attempt left the score at 14-7 in North Harford's favor heading into the intermission.
The next score would not come until the end of the third quarter, after Fallston drove to the North Harford 10-yard line on six plays. Weinhold capped the drive with a 10-yard scoring pass to Niko Rice.
Reuter came on afterward for what would have been the game-tying extra-point, but his kick drifted wide right, leaving the Hawks with a 14-13 advantage.
The win extended Fallston's season-long win streak and pushed the Cougars to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in Chesapeake Division contests. The Hawks fell to 5-3 overall, and 4-2 against upper-division foes.
Eagles beat Panthers
Aberdeen celebrated its new turf, its seniors and its homecoming court and then figured out a way to beat Perryville, 32-28 in Chesapeake Division play.
The Eagles (4-2 league, 6-3 overall) shook off a shaky start and in a span of 55 seconds, took control of the game.
Trailing 22-13 with 47 seconds left in the first half, Aberdeen moved 57 yards in three plays, culminating with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Lavell McCullers to Tavaughn Coleman. A conversion for two points failed, but the Eagles rolled into the intermission hot and came out of it smoking.
Nate McKinney put the Eagles ahead for good, taking the second half kickoff back 65 yards for the score. The conversion for two failed again, leaving the Eagles ahead, 25-22.
With offense and special teams clicking, it was time for the Eagles defense to step up and they did. Perryville drove to the Eagles 12, but were forced to attempt a 30-yard field goal that fell short.
The next Perryville possession reached the Eagles five before the Panthers turned it over on downs.
Aberdeen responded with an 11-play, 95-yard scoring drive. Kenshea McCraney (21 carries, 190 yards) was the workhorse, running for 76 yards on the drive. His 27-yard run on fourth and eight put ball inside the Perryville one. McCullers then snuck the ball over the goal line and Eric Whittie added the extra point for a 32-22 lead.
Perryville (2-4 league, 5-4 overall) came right back with quarterback Cam Cunningham connecting with Elijah Johnson on a 53-yard pass play that set up the Panthers at the Eagles 10.
Three plays later, Cunningham scored from the two. The two-point conversion run failed, leaving the Panthers behind, 32-28.
The Panthers did have one more chance from the Aberdeen 39, but an incomplete pass and three consecutive sacks by the Eagles ended the hopes.
Perryville had opened the game with a boom, as Eathen Griffin carried the ball three times for 72 yards to the Aberdeen three-yard line. Kyle Savick then scored with the game less than three minutes old.
Aberdeen answered with a McCraney 42-yard touchdown run and a McCullers to Coleman touchdown through the air, covering 16 yards.
Griffin (15 carries for 163 yards) raced 12 yards for a score and then caught the two-point conversion from Cunningham to give Perryville a 14-13 lead. Cunningham (8-for-14, 151 yards) then hooked up with Johnson for a 43-yard scoring strike that had given the Panthers the 22-13 lead.
Huskies beat Warriors
Patterson Mill's Trey Hall ran for 271 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries to lift the Huskies (3-3 league, 6-3 overall) past visiting Havre de Grace (1-5 league, 3-6 overall) in Chesapeake Division action.
Huskies quarterback Austin Baltimore was 11-for-14 for 128 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for another score.
Ky'el Hemby caught the touchdown and finished with 67 yards on three catches. Hemby also caught three Havre de Grace passes for interceptions.
Devinn Fisher added 15 rushes for 133 yards and AJ Brocato had two receptions for 26 yards.
Havre de Grace quarterback Jack Eberhardt (11-for-18, 189 yards) threw a pair of touchdown passes. Chop Jones hauled in a five-yard pass and Josh Penn handled the other, covering 70 yards.
Jordan Hawthorne (21 carries, 151 yards) added the third Warriors touchdown on a six-yard run. Geno Nappi added all three extra points.
Hall led the Huskies defense with 14 tackles, while Damon Lloyd and Will Urban each made eight tackles.
Patterson Mill Offense had 407 yards rushing, 128 yards passing for 535 total yards of offense.
Rams beat Mariners
Edgewood (5-0 league, 6-3 overall) stayed in a tie atop the Susquehanna Division with a 34-21 win at Joppatowne (3-2 league, 4-5 overall).
Five Rams, Jeremy Middlebrooks, Izaiah Sneed, James Johnson, Kaliel Barmer and Zach Stone, scored touchdowns. Johnson added a two-point conversion completion to Sneed. Stone's touchdown was an interception return after a deflection from David Jackson on Joppatowne's three-yard line.
Shawn Johnson (19 carries, 90 yards) and Malik Smith (eight carries, 70 yards) had rushing touchdowns for the Mariners and Smith also had a kick return touchdown of 80 yards. Nick Lloyd was one-for-two on extra-point kicks.
Brandon Waters led the Joppatowne defense with 11 tackles and Johnson added eight. Daishon Murrell, Kahri Blackman and Ryan Webb each had seven tackles and Devante Craig had six. Brandon Waters added a blocked punt for the Mariners.
Bobcats edge out Mustangs
The host-team Bel Air Bobcats won their cross-town matchup with the C. Milton Wright Mustangs by a very narrow margin on Friday night, topping the visitors, 36-34.
With the victory, the Bobcats improved to 3-3 in the Chesapeake Division and 6-3 overall. CMW fell to 4-5 overall and 1-5 in the upper division.
C. Milton Wright quarterback Omar Walker had 362 yards passing and two touchdowns. On the ground, Walker ran for 150 yards and picked up a pair of touchdowns.
The Mustangs' Osiah Walker had 107 receiving yards, while also rushing for 44 yards and one touchdown.
Will Hazelton led the Mustangs' receiving corps, putting up 255 yards and two touchdowns on five catches.
Bennie King led CMW on the ground with 209 yards on 15 carries.
Harford Tech topped
The Harford Tech Cobras were beaten on the road Friday night, losing to the Elkton Golden Elks, 35-14.
The Cobras dropped to 1-4 in the Susquehanna Division and 1-7 for the season.
Patriots lose big
John Carroll (1-4 league, 4-6 overall) dropped its season finale at home Friday night, falling 41-6 to Archbishop Curley, in an MIAA B Conference contest.
Visiting Curley scored 14 points in each of the first two quarters for 28-0 halftime lead. Curley also scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, while John Carroll's lone score also came in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots touchdown came on an option play with running back Paul Lorick throwing 20 yards to Mark Michael for the score. Michael finished with four catches for 65 yards.
Lorick had 48 yards on 15 carries and Jake Rosaschi had 37 yards on eight carries. Allen Bryant added 30 yards on seven carries.
Quarterback Christian Scott was six-for-14 passing for 70 yards and one interception.
Gus Lane and Julian Meares led the defense with 10 tackles each; Scott added seven.