Reggie Ray made his first punt return of the season count last night.
His 32-yard return early in the fourth quarter put Howard on Frederick's 13-yard line and led to a tying touchdown that sent the game into overtime.
Owen Brown's 5-yard touchdown run in overtime gave Howard (3-0) a 26-20 victory over Frederick (1-1).
Howard had fallen behind 20-13 with 37 seconds left in the third quarter on a 28-yard touchdown run by Andre Daniels and the outlook for Howard seemed bleak.
It was Frederick's second touchdown in four minutes and it was moving the ball effortlessly.
"The team showed a lot of heart and fight coming back after giving up two quick scores in the third quarter," Howard coach Joe Thomas said.
Ray's effort was more impressive because he shook off cramps that forced him out of the game twice in the first half. He also rushed eight times for 63 yards.
Howard quarterback Chris Poling also played a crucial role in the victory as he rushed eight times for 56 yards and completed 5 of 15 passes for 39 yards and a touchdown.
"The quarterback option was the big play of the game," Ray said. "Frederick was taking the fakes really bad, and when we shifted on the option they were confused and left big gaps."
Poling scored the tying touchdown on a 10-yard option run with 7:31 left to play, as Howard faced a third and two. Matt Anderson's extra-point kick made it 20-20.
Another big play for Howard was Matt Sartwell's 56-yard punt that backed Frederick up to its 16-yard line early in the fourth quarter.
Howard took advantage of that field position to score the tying touchdown on its next possession.
Frederick made a 55-yard drive late in the fourth quarter and appeared ready to win it, but Daniels fumbled at the 5-yard line and Frank Tortella recovered for Howard.
Frederick got the ball back with 40 seconds left but then had three incomplete passes and a fumble on fourth down.
Daniels fumbled again for Frederick on the first down of overtime as the teams played a tiebreaker -- each getting four downs to score from the 10-yard line. Carroll Burely recovered for Howard.
Brian Broadus (11 carries for 45 yards) recovered his own fumble on first down. Brown ran for five yards on second down. And Brown scored the game-winner on a 5-yard dive.
"We felt we had something to prove," Poling said.
"Frederick was the only team to beat us last season besides Oakland Mills and nobody thought we could beat them this year."