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The Aegis Sports

Joppatowne scores late touchdown to hold off upset-minded Lake Clifton, 38-30, in Class 1A state quarterfinal

Joppatowne football used a 23-yard touchdown pass with 3:48 remaining Friday night to slip past visiting Lake Clifton, 38-30, in a Class 1A state quarterfinal.

The pass from AJ Wilson to Zachariah Horton allowed the Mariners to hold off a second-half charge by the Lakers, who scored 18 straight points to tie the game 30 with 5:23 to play.

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“It was great. We talked on offense that we had to lead the game,” Horton said. “There was no way for us to lose, and I caught it and we [went] up. The play was already known, it was coming to me.”

The touchdown ended a wild night of scoring in a game that lasted more than three hours. It also included 345 yards in penalties, 200 against Joppatowne.

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None was bigger than a personal foul against Steven Robinson, the Mariners’ leading ball carrier, in the first quarter. Robinson was on defense when his arm came in contact with the ball carrier’s helmet as the player was being tackled from behind. He was ejected from the game for the infraction.

Joppatowne's Zachariah Horton makes a crucial interception on a pass intended for Lake Clifton's Dvaughn Cheatom during Friday night's Class 1A state quarterfinal.

It was Robinson who opened the scoring, rushing for a 9-yard touchdown on the game’s opening possession. Robinson also ran in the 2-point conversion for an 8-0 lead just over three minutes into the game.

A week ago, the Mariners scored early and won big (72-12), but Lake Clifton wasn’t going to give in. Drequan Venable picked up the ensuing kickoff near his own 20. Seconds later, he was in the end zone, but the Lakers’ 2-point attempt was denied.

The Lakers went ahead a short time later, and Joppatowne penalties played a major part. A face mask and the personal foul call moved the Lakers to the Joppatowne 9-yard line.

Kyion Roane-Fields raced 9 yards on first down for the score, but again the Lakers’ 2-point try was stopped, making it 12-8.

Joppatowne (11-1) rallied and with two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the quarter and retook the lead, 22-12.

Wilson (12 carries, 104 yards) ran 3 yards for a touchdown with 1:41 left, and after a sack and fumble recovery, the Mariners were set up at the Lake Clifton 3. Three plays later, Wilson connected with Horton for a 2-yard touchdown, and Christian Vias added the 2-point conversion to end the quarter.

“Man, what a game, I mean you can’t escape adversity in the game of football, you can’t escape,” Mariners coach Trey Goode said. “We dealt with some early and we had to rely on different guys tonight. Horton and AJ Wilson, they put us on their backs tonight.”

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The Mariners’ lead grew to 30-12 late in the half on a 23-yard keeper by Wilson. Vias ran in another 2-point conversion.

Joppatowne had a chance for more points in the final minute, but a fumble ended the possession.

Joppatowne football coach Trey Goode, right, congratulates Zachariah Horton as he comes to the sideline after his interception during a win over Lake Clifton in a Class 1A state quarterfinal on Friday.

A interception by Horton late in the third quarter denied a potential Lakers touchdown, and it seemed as if the Mariners had the game in hand. However, a fumble inside the Joppatowne 30 was scooped up and taken all the way to the end zone by Roane-Fields as time expired in the quarter.

The Lakers struck again early in the fourth quarter with quarterback Ajuan Blackwell connecting with Daylin Gittings for a 67-yard touchdown. Both 2-point conversion attempts failed, leaving the Mariners ahead, 30-24.

Lake Clifton pulled even at 30 on a 70-yard touchdown run by Joshua Ross, who led the Lakers with 121 yards on 10 carries. But, like the previous four tries, the 2-point conversion failed.

The Mariners responded with the game-winning play. A pass from Wilson to Damien Brooks covering 27 yards started the decisive drive.

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“We try to instill long life lessons, we try to make sure our kids get through life no matter what difficulties, what tragedies come,” longtime Lakers coach James Monroe said. “You’ve got to be able to stand up and keep going. Giving up is something we never do.”

The Mariners will make the trip west next Friday to Cumberland. Fort Hill, a 49-7 winner over Perryville, will host the Mariners in a 1A semifinal at a date and time to be determined.


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