The second quarter of last night's matchup between unranked Catonsville and No. 6 Overlea was only two minutes old and Overlea coach Terry Ward already had seen enough.
"The field is wet," he screamed at his running backs, "stop trying to cut and run somebody over!"
James Holley obviously heard him. The senior tailback abandoned his finesse game and plowed his way to 261 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, leading the Falcons to a 24-12 win at Dundalk Community College.
"Our defense struggled for awhile and they played tough toward the end but our offense is what holds this team together," said Holley, a 6-foot, 180-pounder. "Our veteran line made some holes so big for me that my grandmother could have run through them. Unless you keep our offense off of the field, you're not going to stop us."
Back-to-back runs of 28 and 9 yards by Holley set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Eddie Laws and put the Falcons ahead 6-0 with 8:13 left in the half.
The Comets (4-3) answered on their ensuing possession, driving the ball 61 yards on eight plays before Mickee Perry scored on a sweep from 4 yards.
The Falcons (7-0) didn't wait long to regain the lead. On the second play of their next drive, Malcolm Pulliam scored on a 50-yard run that was made possible by a downfield block by Kwame Koomson, who took out two defenders near the sideline.
Overlea's 12-6 halftime lead was erased with 15 seconds left in the third quarter as Rhasaan Harcum completed an 86-yard scoring drive on a fourth-down draw play that worked 27 yards.
Harcum finished with 166 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
"We couldn't stop their running game and they were controlling the ball on us so I'm very happy to out of here with a win," said Ward, whose team missed the playoffs last season for the first time in seven years.
Holley put the Falcons ahead for good when he scored from 2 yards away with 9:57 left and closed out the scoring three minutes later when he --ed untouched for a 36-yard touchdown.
"Penalties kept us out of the end zone," said Comets coach Warren Como. "Penalties and the fact that we couldn't stop their running game."