MANCHESTER — Sometimes a team just needs a spark.
Nathaniel Costley provided that for Manchester Valley with a big play to get his team going. en route to its 13-10 win over visiting Winters Mill on Friday night.
With the Mavericks (5-3, 2-3 Carroll County Athletic League) trailing 3-0 and struggling to move the ball, Costley took a hand-off from quarterback Owen Murphy and found a huge hole in the Falcons’ defensive line. After making a move in the secondary, the senior running back sped by the defense for a 60-yard score to put the Mavericks up 7-3.
After forcing a Winters Mill punt, the Mavericks went to work again. Backed up in their own territory on a third-and-long, Costley bailed them out again. He gained 18 yards for a first down and the Mavericks found their rhythm against the reeling WM defense.
Murphy and junior Jackson Boothby both had long runs as the Mavericks embarked on a 94-yard scoring drive. Boothby capped the drive with a 7-yard run up the middle to put Manchester Valley up 13-7.
The Falcons (4-4, 2-3) showed resilience and responded with a long scoring drive to get back into the game. Quarterback Matheo Cuenca hit Cam Vogel and Anthony Cegielski for first-down strikes as the Falcons’ offense showed life. After a Cuenca sneak set WM up inside the Mavs’ 10-yard line, the quarterback found Vogel for a 7-yard score to trim the lead to 13-10.
After forcing a fourth-down fumble by the Mavs on the ensuing drive, the Falcons took over at their own 14 with a chance to win. With under two minutes to play, Cuenca used his legs to pick up big gains to start the drive. The drive reached the Mavericks’ 45-yard line but stalled there as Man Valley brought Vogel down in the field of play and time expired.
The Falcons’ defense came up big in the second quarter to help Winters Mill jump out to a slim lead. Boothby took the ball and looked poised for a big run but fumbled, and WM junior defensive back Will Tobias picked up the ball and returned it just outside the Man Valley 20-yard line.
Cuenca moved the offense inside the 10with a completion to Vogel. Cuenca rushed the ball inside the 5, but the progress stalled there. Senior Alex Carr booted a field goal on fourth down to give the Falcons a 3-0 edge.
Manchester Valley responded to that score by putting together a nice drive. Costley had an 18-yard run to set up the Mavericks inside the 5-yard line but failed to get out of bounds as the clock wound under 30 seconds to go. After an incompletion to stop the clock, Murphy scrambled and tried to score but was stopped by a host of Falcons.
With no timeouts left, MV was forced to down the ball again and set up for a field goal. Alex Cook clanged his field goal attempt off the left upright and the Mavs were turned away.
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The win by the Mavs snapped a three-game losing streak in the series with Winters Mill. The Falcons still hold a 6-5 advantage in the series.