SALISBURY -- Salisbury State and Frostburg State, which met here in football yesterday for the 23rd time, have developed a special -- and streaky -- rivalry.
The two state schools have met every year since 1973. Neither plays another opponent from within the state.
And, going into this game, Frostburg had won six straight times -- after Salisbury had won the previous seven. The Sea Gulls ended their drought yesterday, winning, 35-28, but they couldn't have done it without a helping hand from Frostburg.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, it looked to the Sea Gull Stadium crowd of 1,257 as if Frostburg was in the process of completing a 90-yard drive that would give the Bobcats their seventh straight win over their rival.
And then one crazy, fluke play turned the game around.
Trailing 27-21, Frostburg had driven methodically and convincingly from its 10-yard line to Salisbury's 17, when the visitors' Gavin Palumbo tried to run a quarterback option play.
He made one costly mistake: He lateraled the ball to Salisbury defensive end Mitchell David, who ran 80 yards for a touchdown. Freddy Grant's two-point conversion run gave Salisbury a 35-21 lead with 7:16 left.
Frostburg managed to come back and score one more touchdown but Salisbury was able to kill the remaining time for the win.
"This was our school's biggest win in 10 years," said a jubilant and Gatorade-soaked Salisbury coach Joe Rotellini during a post-game celebration on the field. "Salisbury football is back."
Both Salisbury and Frostburg now hold 2-1 records.
"I couldn't believe their quarterback would toss the ball to me," said Salisbury's David. "I just started running and [defensive back] Travis Royall hollered, 'Keep going -- there's nobody near you!' "