At the end of a tough week, one that included losing its head coach for unspecified reasons, the Aberdeen football team earned a memorable victory Friday night.
The Eagles, led by interim head coach Kelvin Harris, overcame the coaching change and an early deficit to beat visiting Rising Sun, 21-13, in an Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference game.
Also in the win column Friday were Fallston and Harford Tech. Meanwhile, Edgewood (4-2) won its second game by forfeit when Perryville (3-3) was unable to play due to COVID issues.
Havre de Grace (5-1) was also forced to forfeit its game against North Harford (3-3) after two positive cases and contact tracing that was related to last week’s game.
The Joppatowne (3-2) at Centennial (0-5) non-league game was also canceled for reasons unknown.
“We had a lot of ups-and-downs, like we struggled this week and we just needed to come out and execute,” said Eagles quarterback Makai Credell. “We lost our head coach, so that was very big for us and a lot of people were doubting us, even at our own school.”
Credell, who scored all three Aberdeen touchdowns, ran 65 yards to pay dirt with the Eagles’ first snap. But an illegal block penalty erased the play.
Credell eventually scored again, but it came much later and after Rising Sun had taken a 6-0 lead. Sam Erhart, who ran for 58 yards on seven carries, covered 27 yards on the touchdown carry with 3:38 left in the first quarter.
Aberdeen started to move the ball late in the first quarter with senior Tommy Fisher inserted into the backfield. Fisher put together runs of 13 and 15 yards, respectively, and — though the Eagles didn’t score — it opened more opportunities for other players as the game wore on.
“I just had to bring the energy to the offense, from me moving from the line back to the position I came into high school with,” Fisher said. “I already knew what to expect and when my line opened up the holes, I just had to do my thing.”
Fisher totaled 118 yards on 14 carries and his runs clearly led to the first two Aberdeen scores.
From the Eagles 44-yard line, Fisher rushed for 19 and 18 yards, respectively, over the next two downs. Credell raced 19 yards with the next snap to get the Eagles on the scoreboard with 2:25 left in the half. David Duffin’s extra-point kick gave Aberdeen a 7-6 lead.
The Eagles’ defense then stepped up in the final minutes of the half to force Rising Sun to punt. Aberdeen, on Zyier Pannell’s 16-yard return, took over at the Tigers’ 34-yard line with 1:09 left.
Another illegal block set the Eagles back five yards, but Fisher had big gains on the next two snaps to set up Aberdeen with first down at the 4-yard line with 33.5 seconds left.
Fisher gained another yard on first down, but it was Credell who ran the next three yards for the score with just five seconds remaining on the clock.
The extra-point was blocked, but Aberdeen had a 13-6 lead at the half.
In the second half, Aberdeen (2-3) had a field goal and punt blocked, but the defense stood tall and kept the Tigers (1-5) away from the end zone.
Aberdeen scored the clinching touchdown late in the fourth quarter, putting together a 12-play, 75-yard drive.
Credell capped it off with a seven-yard run. Credell passed to Raj Hillhouse for a 2-point conversion and a 21-6 lead with 2:17 to play. Credell rushed for 74 yards on 14 carries.
Rising Sun showed no quit and responded with a six-play scoring drive, ending with Tigers’ quarterback Gannon Russel passing 13 yards to Trent Harris. Russel also added the extra-point kick to close the scoring with 1:08 left.
The Tigers then attempted an onside kick, but Aberdeen recovered the ball. Aberdeen picked up a first down to end the game.
“I’m excited for them, I’m glad they did this for themselves,” Harris said. “They have been through a lot this season and they keep fighting. A lot of perseverance, perseverance, perseverance. We’re pushing and pushing and we’re trying to get better. I’m ecstatic for them, I want them to enjoy their homecoming and I can’t wait to see what they do for the rest of the season.”
Fallston 42, Bel Air 33
The Cougars (6-0) remain unbeaten with the high-scoring win over the visiting Bobcats (3-3).
Harford Tech 62, Patterson Mill 7
The Cobras (5-1) scored a season-high in points to beat the host Huskies (1-5).