Old Mill's Rob Chesson didn't score a touchdown for the first time all season in the state Class 4A championship game Friday night, but the senior running back scored the only two points that mattered in the end.
His two-point conversion run in overtime finished off a stunning recovery from 21 points down to give the No. 3 Patriots a 36-35 victory over Quince Orchard that polished off a 14-0 season at M&T Bank Stadium and gave them their second title in three years.
Chesson, who has been known to dive into the end zone from 6 yards out, went to the air for the final 2 yards of his career.
"I wanted to get there in a hurry, as fast as I can," Chesson said. "I've been diving into the end zone all year and I was like, one last dive. I just went with my instinct and took it in."
Old Mill coach Chad McCormick said Quince Orchard's defense sparked his decision to go for the win rather than the tie.
"That decision was a tough one," McCormick said, "but it was tougher to have to go back out there and go four downs against that Quince Orchard defense. They were tough to move the ball on and we had the opportunity to go for broke and we went for it."
Old Mill won the coin toss in overtime and deferred to the Cougars (13-1) who scored on Billy Plante's 7-yard pass to Tyrell Williams. Patriots quarterback Deonte Shields answered on a quarterback sneak.
That was the only running touchdown of the game for a team that relied on the run to get them to the state final. Chesson, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound running back, led the way with 49 touchdowns -- six more than the previous state record -- including seven in the state semifinal.
On Friday night, however, the Cougars forced Old Mill to go to its underrated aerial game and Shields led the way with three passing touchdowns, completing nine of 17 passes for 235 yards.
Shields came to the postgame news conference sporting his ring from the Patriots' 2009 title game. He didn't play too much that year as a sophomore, but he took advantage of his chances as a senior.
"After that first touchdown before the second quarter was over, I just felt like I was invincible, like nobody could stop me," Shields said. "I was just so confident in myself. When we came back out [after halftime], I was just like, 'We have to do what we need to do. Offensive line, you have to block and I'm going to make these plays for us.'"
Shields completed the Patriots' regulation comeback by hitting Carl Chance with a 70-yard touchdown pass with 42 seconds left in regulation. Some of the Patriots, however, got a little too rowdy in their sideline celebration and Brady Hannon had to make a 35-yard extra point to force overtime.
Early on, it looked like a sad finish for the Patriots, who went into the title game averaging 41.3 points. No team had come closer than within 21 points of them since the second game of the season.
The Patriots' line could not consistently create the holes to spring Chesson. He finished with 25 carries for 154 yards, but 76 came on a single run in the second drive of the game.
Until overtime, the star billing belonged to Mark Green, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound senior, who gained 218 yards on 43 carries and scored three touchdowns for the Cougars, from Gaithersburg, who were looking for their third title.
Trailing 21-7 at the half, the Patriots got a huge momentum boost on the opening kickoff of the second half when Seth Holbrook forced Quince Orchard's Devin Haywood to fumble on the return. Torie Wagner scooped it up and ran 23 yards for the touchdown.
The Patriots couldn't build off that momentum and Green scored his third touchdown, but Old Mill pulled within 28-21 when Shields hit Wagner with a 64-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the third quarter. Wagner, who also had several big plays on defense, caught six passes for 178 yards.
OM 0 14 7 7 8-- 36
QO 7 14 7 0 7-- 35
QO—Green 1 run (McPherson kick)
QO—Heyn 2 pass from Plante (McPherson kick)
QO—Green 5 run (McPherson kick)
OM—Salisbury 5 pass from Shields (Hannon kick)
OM—Wagner 23 fumble ret. (Hannon kick)
QO—Green 2 run (McPherson kick)
OM—Wagner 64 pass from Shields (Hannon kick)
OM—Chance 70 pass from Shields (Hannon kick)
QO—Williams 7 pass from Plante (McPherson kick)
OM—Shields 1 run (Chesson run)Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun