No. 12 Aberdeen reversed the result from its regular-season game against rival North Harford, defeating the Hawks 38-20 in Friday night's Class 3A North regional football championship.
The Eagles (10-2), who had lost to North Harford 38-12 in the fifth week of the regular season, move on to the state semifinals and will visit No. 9 River Hill next week.
“The first time we played North Harford, we just didn’t play up to our capabilities,” Aberdeen coach Johnny Brooks said. “I said before this game that if we matched them physically, which would be tough because North Harford is a very physical team, that good things would happen. We held onto the ball tonight and had some big plays when we needed them.”
The Hawks (9-3) struck first in Friday’s regional final, scoring on their second possession when Ryan Stinar hit Brady Maguire with a touchdown pass on a third-and-eight play. Chris King nailed his extra-point attempt to give North Harford a 7-0 advantage.
Aberdeen did not wait long to answer the hosts’ opening touchdown, as Austin Bonsall returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a score. On the extra-point kick, Bonsall was blocked, leaving the score 7-6.
The Hawks moved the ball down to Aberdeen’s 4-yard line on their next drive, but they turned the ball over when Stinar’s fourth-and-goal pass fell incomplete in the end zone.
After getting the ball back on the Aberdeen 13 when the Eagles coughed up a fumble, North Harford found the end zone in two plays, as Stinar hit receiver Nick Tittle with a 13-yard pass. King knocked another extra-point kick through the uprights, putting his team up 14-6.
Now down by eight, Aberdeen moved the ball to the North Harford 4 on eight plays, then capped the drive with a touchdown scramble by Eagle quarterback Kenny Faulcon. On the two-point conversion attempt, Faulcon hit Christian Carpenter with what looked like a game-tying pass, but Carpenter was ruled out of bounds by an official, which left the Eagles trailing 14-12.
Following another fourth-down stop, Aberdeen took the ball back at the 50 with a little over a minute left in the first half. After Aberdeen moved to the Hawks’ 1, Faulcon put the Eagles up for the first time, scrambling into the end zone on a busted pass play in the final seconds.
In the second half, Faulcon tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Chavez Cheatham, and he ran the ball in for a two-point conversion. Aberdeen’s final pointsof the game came in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, when Bonsall scored on an 11-yard touchdown sprint.
The Hawks found Aberdeen’s end zone once in the third quarter, but could not manage another score.