With six minutes left last night against a rejuvenated Centennial team, Howard staggered. But Guy Smith refused to let the Lions fall.
Smith ran 14 yards for a touchdown with 2:19 left to lift Howard to a 24-20 victory over visiting Centennial, as the Lions nullified a spirited comeback by the Eagles in a wild game that featured four fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Smith was sensational from the start. He rushed for 177 yards on 21 carries and scored all three Howard touchdowns to lead the Lions (5-3, 3-2 in Howard County) to their third consecutive victory. Centennial (3-5, 1-4) lost its fourth straight.
"My team looks to me to make big stuff happen," Smith said. "I'm a captain. That's what I'm supposed to do."
Smith lived up to his teammates' expectations in a big way, especially after the Lions allowed a nine-point lead to evaporate midway through the fourth period.
When Smith opened the fourth quarter by scoring on a 2-yard run to cap a 10-play, 72-yard drive, the Lions seemed to have a secure, 16-7 lead. But Centennial struck back quickly. On third down, quarterback Lawrence Holmes (5-for-6, 115 yards) froze Howard's defense with a play fake and hit a wide-open Jeremy Odelius (19 carries, 49 yards) for a 60-yard touchdown. Suddenly, Howard was clinging to a 16-14 lead with 10:23 left in the game.
Howard then turned the ball over. Quarterback Dalawn Parrish fumbled an attempted pitchout that Centennial's Chad Spence recovered at the Lions' 34.
Four plays brought the Eagles to a fourth-and-one at Howard's 10, and Holmes made a remarkable play to put Centennial on top for the first time. Holmes dropped the ball after a fake handoff, but the ball bounced back into his hands. He then darted around left end to put the Eagles on top 20-16 with 5:53 left to play.
That's when Smith went back to work. The Lions started from their 18, and Smith quickly got them near midfield with a pair of 14-yard runs up the middle. Curtis McTavish ran for 11 yards, followed by a pair of 8-yard runs by Scott Strothers.
Smith finished the eight-play, 72-yard drive. His 9-yard run moved theball to the Centennial 14. On the next play, he turned the game around.
Centennial 0 7 0 13 -- 20
Howard .. .7 2 0 15 -- 24
-- Smith 6 run (kick failed)
H -- Krupka 25 FG
C -- Odelius 3 run (DeBruyn kick)
H -- Smith 2 run (Krupka kick)
C -- Odelius 60 pass from Holmes (DeBruyn kick)
C -- Holmes 10 run (kick failed)
H -- Smith 14 run (Tyler pass from Parrish)