Football: Francis Scott Key hangs on for 1st county win

Pat Stoetzer
Contact ReporterCarroll County Times

The bad vibes still lingered from Francis Scott Key’s first county game of the season, two weeks ago in Eldersburg against Century.

The Eagles controlled the game early but allowed the home team to climb back into it, and the Knights pulled off a 35-34 victory in the final minutes.

Last Thursday’s home loss to Westminster did little to soothe the Eagles, who felt like they left a win back on the road the week before. So when it had a chance to seal a victory Friday night against Manchester Valley, FSK savored a little revenge.

Two interceptions late in the fourth quarter helped stave off a Mavericks comeback, and Key left town with a 24-21 win to snap a two-game slide.

“It’s huge,” said Eagles coach Josh Rutter. “We told the guys, you’re going to face adversity. Not every game is going to be like the early ones where we were running away with some. The last time we had a lead in a county game, we kind of let it slip away against Century … We had to finish it.”

Nate Imes led FSK’s offensive charge with more than 160 rushing yards and a touchdown, but he came form his linebacker position on defense to make a big play with 4:34 to remaining when he picked off MV quarterback Dallas Engel on the Mavs’ 37-yard line.

Key (4-2, 1-2 county) didn’t move the ball far on its possession, but Bailey Quesenberry dropped a punt inside the 10 to pin the Mavs deep. They ran the ball out of punt formation on fourth down from their own 15 but lost a yard and gave the ball back to FSK.

The Eagles returned the favor on their next drive, giving Man Valley (3-3, 1-2) one more chance. Engel threw on nine straight pass plays, but his last, from the 45-yard line, landed in the hands on Key safety Steven Keeney to seal it.

“Guys that needed to step up did — and made some big plays,” Rutter said.

Bobby Sylves scored on two touchdown runs for Francis Scott Key, and Jake Pirrung completed two passes on two-point conversion plays.

Dalton Gladden added two sacks on FSK’s defense.

The Mavericks trailed 24-7 before Engel tossed a pair of scoring passes — a 15-yarder to Cooper Hastings and a 7-yard strike to Colin Schuman. A two-point throw to Ryan Brown made it 24-21 with 9:28 to play, but the Eagles chewed up some of the clock with a eight-play drive that lasted a little more than four minutes, putting the home team in a tough spot.

Thomas Harry broke off a 57-yard touchdown run for Man Valley’s first points of the game in the first quarter.

Francis Scott Key 8 8 8 0 — 24

Man Valley 7 0 0 14 — 21

SCORING SUMMARY

FSK-Nate Imes 4 run (Sam Coibion pass from Jake Pirrung)

MV-Thomas Harry 57 run (Dayne Koontz kick)

FSK-Bobby Sylves 1 run (Bailey Quesenberry pass from Pirrung)

FSK-Sylves 9 run (Corey Goodman run)

MV-Cooper Hastings 15 pass from Dallas Engel (pass failed)

MV-Colin Schuman 7 pass from Engel (Ryan Brown pass from Engel)

pat.stoetzer@carrollcountytimes.com

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