"Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good," said Thomas Johnson coach Ben Wright, describing his team's 25-22 win over No. 5 Oakland Mills yesterday.
Thomas Johnson (2-1) turned three of Oakland Mills' five turnovers into scores, kicked a 32-yard field goal with 1.4 seconds left in the first half, and drew a big break when Oakland Mills was called for offensive pass interference in Thomas Johnson's end zone with 35 seconds left in the game.
Oakland Mills' offensive line failed to open enough holes or to protect quarterback Irving Conwell for the second straight losing week and forced the Scorpions into a scrambling passing game.
Conwell completed 11 of 18 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns, but constantly had to dodge would-be tacklers.
Sprained ankles that kept tailbacks Fardan Carter, Quan Davis and Paul Brown out of practice all week also hurt the Scorpions, as did a wet field that took away much of their speed advantage.
The pass interference call against Antiwan Jones (four catches, 102 yards, three touchdowns) was critical. It came on first down after Thomas Johnson had turned the ball over on its 15-yard line after a bad snap on a punt attempt.
"Both sides pushed off [on the interference call] and I thought the call was going to us," Oakland Mills coach Ken Hovet said.
The penalty pushed the Scorpions back to the 30-yard line. Conwell almost pulled off the victory on the next play, but his pass went through the arms of an open receiver near the goal line. With 19 seconds left, Conwell lost his third fumble of the game. He also threw an interception that led to Thomas Johnson's first touchdown.
"I thought Irving played a pretty good game but our offensive line just needs work," Hovet said. "You can have pass receivers open all day, but it doesn't help if your quarterback is getting hit."
After Thomas Johnson went ahead 25-14 with 4:45 left in the game, Oakland Mills (1-2) drove 74 yards in eight plays to score. The big play was a 62-yard pass to Carter.
Jones caught a 7-yard touchdown pass with 2:04 left to play. And Carter's two-point conversion run made it 25-22.
* Glenelg 21, South Carroll 20: Junior Jeremy Lignelli totaled 131 yards rushing and a touchdown as host Glenelg (2-1) edged South Carroll (1-2). Danny Garland added 66 yards and a touchdown for Glenelg.
* Hammond 35, Rockville 0: Tim Spruill completed 5 of 9 passes for 85 yards, rushed for 101 yards and scored two touchdowns, including on a 75-yard punt return, as host Hammond (3-0) shut out Rockville (1-2).