A play that didn't work the week before in an overtime loss to Joppatowne worked last night in Pasadena when Fallston (3-3) outlasted Northeast (3-3) in double overtime, 20-18.
Junior quarterback Brad Thomas, who had just scored on a first-down option play from 10 yards, rolled that way again and found his favorite receiver, Brad Baker, alone in the left corner of the end zone for the winning conversion in the second overtime.
"We ran the same play last week [against Joppatowne] and got snuffed out trying to tie it," said coach Al Cesky, whose Class 1A team has lost three games by a total of 13 points.
"Brad has a three options on that play, and he used the right one each time. It feels great to win one like this."
Regulation ended in a 6-6 tie, with both scores coming in the second half. Each team then scored on its first possession in overtime but missed the conversion.
In the second overtime, each team scored on first down, Thomas for Fallston and running back Chris Kelly for Northeast. In each case, Fallston had the ball first and after hitting the conversion, the second try put pressure on Northeast.
After Kelly scored to bring the Eagles within two, coach Bart Rader called two timeouts before calling Kelly's number again. Kelly was stopped in his tracks with senior captain Craig Rhoten leading the charge at linebacker.
"There was no way we were going to let them get in and tie it again," said Rhoten, whose spirited play led the team to victory. "We just knew we were going to win this game no matter what. We didn't want any repeat of the week before."
After a scoreless first half with each club mounting one threat before being stopped -- Fallston to the Northeast 23 and the latter to the visitor's 15 -- Rhoten screamed at his teammates as they did calisthenics before the start of the second half.
Rhoten, 5 feet 10, 215 pounds, made his voice heard on the other side of the field as he begged and ordered his teammates to stay focused.
"It's something I do every game, just to keep everybody's mind on what we need to do to win," said Rhoten. "Sometimes we have to be reminded to hit hard, block and tackle, everything it takes to win."
Rhoten's pep talk obviously had an effect. His team took the second half kickoff and marched 65 yards in 14 plays to the game's first touchdown, taking 6:05 off the clock.
Northeast answered by going 63 yards in six plays, with Kelly scoring on a 12-yard -- with 2:37 left in the third period.