Century started its Friday night matchup with county foe Francis Scott Key in similar fashion to its previous three games, with some mistakes and little offense.
But with 20 seconds remaining in their first county contest of the season, the Knights were in position to win their first game.
Jake Pirrung took the shotgun snap at the Francis Scott Key 36-yard line, but gained only five yards on a scramble up the middle as the clock expired and Century secured a thrilling 35-34 victory.
“Absolutely it feels like a fresh start to the season and that’s the mindset we took in as a team,” Knights coach Todd Edmondson said. “That was the focus, you put the first three weeks behind you … it means something during county play and it was a hard fought game with Francis Scott Key and it was just a good opening week for Carroll County football.”
The Eagles (3-1, 0-1 county) took advantage of penalties and a Collin Ende interception to score twice in the first quarter and gain a quick lead of 14 points. But after Ende’s only interception of the game Century’s passing attack started to gain momentum. The Knights (1-3, 1-0) scored on three consecutive drives as Ende carved up the Francis Scott Key defense.
After ending the opening quarter with just one completion for 19 yards, Ende finished with 268 passing yards including two touchdown passes.
The Eagles kept their composure on offense and continued to move the ball on the ground, primarily handing the ball off to Nate Imes, who finished with a game-high 161 rushing yards.
Pirrung connected to two deep passes for scores in the first half — Bailey Quesenberry hauled in a 54-yard touchdown on the Eagles’ opening drive, and Imes caught a 60-yard score later in the half. Despite Century’s rhythm on offense, FSK was matching scores to remain in the lead.
The Eagles carried a 22-14 lead into halftime and after matching touchdowns by each time to open the third quarter, Century finally got the big play it needed to change its fortunes.
FSK had the ball on the Knights 1-yard line and handed the ball to Imes who went over the right guard, but lost the football as Century’s Nick Dahl emerged sprinting the opposite direction holding the ball. Dahl made it all the way to the end zone to complete the 99-yard score and bring the Knights to within one point of FSK.
Century’s defense held firm and Ende rushed in a score from the 1-yard line to give Century a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Steven Keeney was the Eagles’ last hope as he took a handoff from midfield and broke up the middle, heading for the end zone and with just more than two minutes remaining in the game FSK was down 35-34. But the Knights defense held again, stuffing Imes a yard away on the two-point conversion and it would be the closest the Eagles got to the end zone for the remainder of the contest.
FSK 14 8 6 6 -- 34
Century 0 14 21 0 -- 35
FSK-Bailey Quesenberry 54 pass from Jake Pirrung (Sam Coibion pass from Pirrung)
FSK-Nate Imes 6 run (conversion failed)
C-Evan Usi 14 run (Dylan Fitzgerald kick)
FSK-Imes 60 pass from Pirrung Imes run)
C-Nick Dahl 22 pass from Collin Ende (Fitzgerald kick)
FSK-Imes 6 run (conversion failed)
C-Kevin Pearson 39 pass from Ende (Fitzgerald kick)
C-Dahl 99 fumble recovery (kick failed)
C-Ende 1 run (Dahl pass from Ende)
FSK-Steven Keeney 50 run (conversion failed)