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Late touchdown seals Oakland Mills’ comeback win over Mt. Hebron | Howard County football roundup

There are no win probability charts for Howard County high school football games. But if there were, Oakland Mills’ chances late in the game to come back and beat Mt. Hebron, 18-14, on Friday would’ve been infinitesimal.

The visiting Vikings, up 14-12 with a minute left, faced a fourth-and-one on the Scorpions’ 35. Even with a stop, Oakland Mills’ run-heavy offense, with no timeouts and a poor kicking game, would need to travel more than 50 yards in less than a minute.

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Thankfully for the Scorpions, quarterback Antoine Holmes didn’t care about the odds.

On the first play of the drive, Holmes and tight end Kanye Holland connected on a 54-yard pass to set up Holmes’ 2-yard touchdown run — his third of the game. Aki Harvey then sealed Oakland Mills’ season-opening triumph with an interception as time expired.

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“I was thinking the whole time that they don’t want it more than I do. I know my team is better than their team,” Holmes said. “Hope never left. We didn’t give up. We saw the clock ticking down; it was low, and we were down. But we knew what we had to do, and we got it done.”

Oakland Mills coach Tom Browne said his defense is the main reason the Scorpions were able to pull off the comeback. With Mt. Hebron (1-1) driving late in the game, Browne’s defense forced the Vikings into a fourth-and-short. Then, after a delay of game on Hebron, the Scorpions got the fourth-down stop they needed by tackling Vikings wideout Zion Holmes behind the line of scrimmage on a jet sweep — a play that had previously been successful several times against Oakland Mills.

“That’s the game. The defense won the game. We just happened to capitalize on those last two plays on offense,” Browne said. “They had a lot of success running that jet sweep, and we made a nice tackle there on the edge. I’m pleased with the defense. We gave up some scores, but they played well.”

The win is a long time coming for the Scorps. A coronavirus-related pause postponed Oakland Mills’ first game last week — after the season itself had already been postponed for seven months due to the pandemic. With only two days of practice to prepare for the game, Browne said he was proud of his team’s resiliency.

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“It’s huge to get a win. Anytime you get a win, it’s great, but especially in this environment under these circumstances,” he said. “I was super proud of the guys to pull it out. It was very ugly, but we made some good plays when we needed to.”

The contest at Oakland Mills (1-0) started sloppy, with fumbles hindering both offenses in the scoreless first half. Browne’s squad committed to not using a punter all game — even in clear punting situations.

After a turnover on downs around midfield on their first drive, the Scorpions’ offense faced a fourth-and-9 on its own 9-yard line. Holmes, however, scampered for 10 yards for the first down and then led the Scorps all the way to the Vikings’ 4-yard line before a fumbled exchange ended the scoring threat and wasted the 19-play, 88-yard drive.

Mt. Hebron then started the second half with a momentum-shifting play, as kicker Andy Garcia perfectly executed a surprise onside kick. Garcia, who was also crucial to the Vikings’ win over Centennial last week, tapped the ball straight ahead — where no Oakland Mills player was positioned — and watched as teammate Jonathan Griffith dove on it after it cleared the 10-yard threshold.

Prior to the Scorpions’ comeback, Garcia’s two extra points were the difference in the game, as both of Hebron’s touchdowns ended with successful PATs and neither of Oakland Mills’ scores were followed by points after.

“Andy is phenomenal,” said Mt. Hebron head coach Shawn Frederick. “... His extra points today were huge, and so was the onside kick. He’s got a strong leg, and we’re fortunate to have him.”

Following Garcia’s onside kick, Mt. Hebron’s Kameron Wilson-Anderson took a jet sweep 39 yards to set up a 9-yard touchdown on a jet sweep touch pass from quarterback Cooper Baer to wide receiver Zion Holmes. Baer ended the night with 122 yards on 9-of-13 passing, while Holmes tallied seven receptions for 73 yards.

The Scorpions responded quickly, though, as Holmes found a hole and used his speed to break away from two Vikings defenders for a 42-yard touchdown to pull his team within one, 7-6.

Holmes, who was a first-team All-County running back for a solid Oakland Mills squad last season, is stepping in for 2019 Offensive Player of the Year Kai Castle at quarterback and is the Scorpions’ lone returning starter on offense. He finished the game with 26 carries for 150 yards and three scores on the ground to go along with 81 yards on 5-of-8 passing.

“The one thing I would say Antoine has in common with Kai Castle is that he’s tough,” Browne said. “He’s the toughest kid on the team, and that’s why he’s playing quarterback.”

Mt. Hebron scored again early in the fourth quarter after being set up by an interception by Anwer Ayubi, who returned the pick 46 yards to the Scorpions’ 21-yard line. Baer capped off the Vikings’ short drive with a 1-yard QB sneak.

Five minutes later, Holmes scored his second rushing touchdown of the game from 17 yards out after breaking two tackles on the perimeter. Holmes’ two-point rushing attempt after the score came up a yard short, though, and Hebron led 14-12 with four minutes remaining.

The Vikings’ offense chewed three minutes off the clock before the pivotal fourth-and-1 delay of game occurred. Frederick was standing next to an official, preparing to call a timeout as his players stood waiting for the whistle. As Frederick was looking for the official on the other side of the field to start signaling with his arm that the play clock was under five seconds, a flag was thrown for delay of game. Frederick said the official never indicated the play clock was about to run out.

“All game [the official] was counting down the last five seconds,” Frederick said. “It can be hard to hear with some fans and his mask, when he’s 50 yards away, when he says ’10 seconds.’ So I’m standing there waiting, and then, all of a sudden, he blows his whistle.”

“That was a huge penalty there,” Browne said. “That was the difference-maker, because they couldn’t sneak it.”

After stopping the Vikings on fourth down, the Scorpions took over on their own 44-yard line. Despite the dire situation Oakland Mills’ offense was in, Mt. Hebron’s defense was still positioned to stop the run with all 11 players within seven yards of the line of scrimmage.

“We didn’t switch to cover 3, so that’s on me,” Frederick said.

Holland beat his man and sped past Hebron’s single-high safety for the long completion before he was tackled at the 2-yard line.

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“I was just thinking I had to run fast and make sure I caught the ball,” Holland said.

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“I felt like that ball was in the air for two hours,” said Browne. “It was a perfect ball.”

After Holmes’ game-winning touchdown, Mt. Hebron — which defeated Centennial in its season opener last week — had about 40 seconds and two timeouts to mount a comeback, but the drive came up short.

Oakland Mills travels to Centennial next Friday, while Mt. Hebron hosts Marriotts Ridge.

Oakland Mills 18, Mt. Hebron 14

MH — 0 0 7 7 — 14

OM — 0 0 6 12 — 18

Scoring plays:

Third Quarter

MH: Zion Holmes 9-yard pass from Cooper Baer, Andy Garcia kick [7-0]

OM: Antoine Holmes 42-yard run, kick failed [7-6]

Fourth Quarter

MH: Baer 1-yard run, Garcia kick [14-6]

OM: Holmes 17-yard run, run failed [14-12]

OM: Holmes 2-yard run, run failed [14-18]

OTHER SCORES:

Marriotts Ridge 35, Centennial 0

The Mustangs, playing their first game this season, celebrated their seniors and earned the convincing victory over Centennial (0-2). Quarterback Casey Pung hooked up with John Miller for a pair of touchdowns through the air in the first half and Marriotts Ridge never looked back from there. Pung ended up with three touchdown passes for the game and Kam Young rushed for two touchdowns in the second half.

C — 0 0 0 0 — 0

MR — 7 7 14 7 — 35

Scoring plays:

First Quarter

MR: John Miller 12-yard pass from Casey Pung, Evan Bury kick [7-0]

Second Quarter

MR: Miller 11-yard pass from Pung, Bury kick [14-0]

Third Quarter

MR: Kam Young 53-yard run, Bury kick [21-0]

MR: Gavin Turner 32-yard pass from Pung, Bury kick [28-0]

Fourth Quarter

MR: Young 38-yard run, Bury kick [35-0]

Atholton 10, Hammond 8

The Raiders (1-0) built an 8-0 lead in the first half and then, following a touchdown and two-point conversion by the Golden Bears (0-2) to tie the game, got the deciding score courtesy of a safety in the third quarter.

A — 0 8 2 0 — 10

Ha — 0 0 8 0 — 8

Scoring plays:

Second quarter

A — Khalil Tiller Kinard 2-yard run, Christian Parkins 2-point try good [8-0]

Third quarter

Ha — Micah Austin 48-yard fumble return, Micah Austin pass from Eric Grinwis 2-point try good [8-8]

A — Hammond runner tackled in endzone for safety [10-8]

River Hill 16, Wilde Lake 0

The Hawks (1-0) put together a dominant defensive effort, holding Wilde Lake (1-1) to four first downs and 12 yards of total offense while recording six sacks and forcing one turnover. Kyle Martin and Daniel Fahmy were the defensive leaders with five tackles and two sacks each.

Offensively, River Hill rushed for 312 yards with Michael Crisitello (20 rushes for 122 yards), Zach Igwebe (19 for 100) and Myles McDuffie (12 for 85) all turning in big games.

RH — 0 10 6 0 — 16

WL — 0 0 0 0 — 0

Scoring plays:

Second Quarter

RH: Zach Igwebe 2-yard run, Patel kick [7-0]

RH: Patel 30-yard field goal [10-0]

Third Quarter

RH: Myles McDuffie 18-yard run, kick failed [16-0]

Long Reach 13, Reservoir 7

The Lightning (1-0) scored all of their points in the first half and then the defense held strong down the stretch to help secure the victory in the team’s season opener against Reservoir (0-2). Julius Saunders and Alexander Coffey scored the touchdowns for Long Reach.

LR — 6 7 0 0 — 13

Re — 0 0 0 7 — 7

Don’t see scores or stats from your favorite team? Send results and any game information to Brent Kennedy at bkennedy@baltsun.com and Jacob Meyer at jameyer@baltsun.com.

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