Perry Hall tops Eastern, may move up in 4A North Football


In a game with major playoff implications, 13th-ranked Perry Hall remained on course yesterday.

The Gators received a battle from undermanned Eastern Tech, but capitalized on enough mistakes to stay in control and score a 20-6 victory that probably will put them ahead of Patterson this week for the top spot in the state's Class 4A North region points race.

Patterson lost Thursday to top-ranked City, and Eastern's five previous victories will give Perry Hall important bonus points.

The defense dominated the game for Perry Hall (7-1, 6-0), which allowed the Mavericks into their territory on only two plays from scrimmage. Eastern never got closer than the Gators' 35. Perry Hall would have had a shutout except for a punt return for a touchdown.

"We played real well on defense, but the game stayed close because we couldn't get any points out of three big opportunities in the second half," said coach Joe Stoy.

Perry Hall finally put away the Mavericks with an eight-play, 69-yard drive highlighting the running of Mark Franklin.

The clinching march was set up by a fumble by Ira McCullough on Eastern's deepest penetration of the game.

Ryan Pancake recovered and Perry Hall, ahead just 6-0, used Franklin to gain 50 yards on five carries to reach the Mavericks' 8.

On second down, Mandel Marsh appeared to be stopped by Brian Nagle, but Marsh squirted away, reversed his field and scored to put the game away with 2:40 remaining.

Two other Eastern errors -- a bad snap on an attempted punt and another lost fumble -- led to the Gators' other scores.

Mavericks coach Jim Salters said of his 18-man squad: "We can't make that many errors and win. We just gave them touchdowns."

The Gators also were short-handed, played without standout kicker Jason Bloom, who underwent minor surgery but is expected back before the end of the season. It might have cost them a couple of points. They went for two points after the first two touchdowns and twice disdained field-goal attempts.

Eastern scored to tie at 6 on a 64-yard punt return by Dwan Jones, who hesitated, then fooled the coverage team by fielding the ball and taking off down the right sideline.

But the Gators bounced back four minutes later when Jones fumbled away their next punt at the Mavericks' 25. Franklin's 2-yard dive and a two-point run by Brian Smith gave Perry Hall a 14-6 edge.

Perry Hall can clinch the Baltimore County 3A-4A title for the fifth time in six years against Dundalk next week.

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