Hereford football coach Ric Evans' first playoff game is one he will remember — for all the wrong reasons.
Junior fullback Brandon Hlavach’s 6-yard run up the middle lifted Eastern Tech to a 27-21 victory over the Bulls in overtime in the Class 2A North regional semifinal at the Community College of Baltimore County-Essex Friday night.
The Mavericks advance to play Dunbar in the regional final Friday at 7 p.m. at CCBC-Essex.
Hereford had a chance to beat Eastern Tech with four seconds remaining in regulation, but Evan Wisner’s 28-yard field goal attempt fell short of the goal post.
“The snap was good and the hold was good,” Evans said. “He just miss hit it.”
Hereford had recovered a fumble two plays earlier at the Eastern Tech 10-yard line.
It was the second straight week Eastern Tech (10-1) came from behind to beat Hereford (6-5).
“You win a lot of games on guts and fortitude,” said Eastern Tech coach Marc Mearos, whose team posted a 35-26 win over the Bulls a week earlier after Hereford had led for most of the game. “We showed that tonight.”
Hereford led in the rematch for nearly three quarters, including 15-6 at halftime.
Tailback Craig Worpell put Hereford on the scoreboard first with a 1-yard run up the middle on the Bulls’ second possession with 4:54 remaining in the first quarter
Eastern Tech scored with 2:02 remaining in the second quarter on Hlavach’s 7-yard run to the right corner of the end zone to finish off a 16-play, 75-yard drive. Two screen passes for first downs from quarterback R.J. Stuckey to Hlavach keyed the drive.
Hereford’s Mike Nash blocked Brian Nguyen’s extra point.
The Bulls answered 80 seconds later to make it 13-6. Gabe Ceribelli hit Malcolm Johnston on a 7-yard screen on 3rd-and-14th in the middle of the field and he ran another 45 yards up the middle by several defenders to put Hereford ahead 13-6.
Worpell ran in the 2-point conversion.
On Eastern Tech’s first possession of the second half, Coby Nettleton recovered a fumble on the Mavericks’ 32 after a bad snap to Stuckey.
Hereford capitalized, scoring eight plays later on Johnston’s 3-yard run up the middle with 10:14 remaining to give Hereford 21-6 advantage.
JP Martin’s extra point was wide left.
Eastern Tech only needed four plays to respond. Stuckey hit Riley Hodge in the left corner of the end zone for a 12-yard score to trim the lead to 21-12. Stuckey also teamed up with Hodge on the 2-point conversion.
The Mavericks cut the margin to 21-20 late in the third quarter when McBorrough’s leaped over a pile of players into the end zone from two yards out.
Brian Nguyen’s extra point tied it.
“I am not like, ‘Here we go again,’” Evans said. “We just had to answer.”