SANDY SPRING - All Josh Furman wanted was a second chance. He got it, and now No. 2 Old Mill is going to its first state championship game on the strength of its fabulous senior running back.
After fumbling inside the Sherwood 20-yard line with less than four minutes left, Old Mill regained possession with 94 seconds to play. The Patriots drove 82 yards, capped by Furman's 6-yard touchdown run and subsequent two-point conversion with 17 seconds left to give Old Mill a 20-13 win over defending champion Sherwood in a Class 4A state semifinal Saturday before an estimated 3,500.
Old Mill (11-2) will play Wise of Prince George's County in the 4A final at 7:30 p.m. Friday at M&T; Bank Stadium.
A sluggish first three quarters yielded to a stunning fourth quarter that began with Montgomery County's Sherwood at the Old Mill 1 after a 54-yard run by Kye Hopkins. Sumner Wubbenhorst scored three plays later to give Sherwood its first lead, 13-12.
After the teams traded punts on the next two possessions, Old Mill drove to the Sherwood 25, where the Patriots faced fourth-and-three. On a direct snap to Furman, he ran up the middle for a first down before he was stripped of the ball. Sherwood's Alex Cole fell on it at the 12 with 3:49 left.
Old Mill seemed deflated, but did Furman think the Patriots were beaten?
"No, I didn't," he said. "I knew my defense would get us back the ball and give us another chance."
Wubbenhorst ran 60 yards on the next play, and the game seemed well in hand. But Old Mill stopped Sherwood (10-3) by about a foot on a fourth-and-four run at the 18 with 1:34 left.
Built around running backs Furman and Jason Clements, Old Mill was hardly designed for the two-minute offense. But quarterback Joe Thornton hit Clements on a 13-yard swing pass, then ran for 11 and 13 yards sandwiched around an incompletion.
Then came the game's most improbable play - a play-action fake to Furman (201 rushing yards, two touchdowns) - and Thornton heaved a bomb. Senior Dominic Gibson leaped between two defenders and made the catch at the 11.
"It took us 13 weeks to nail down that downfield passing game," Old Mill coach Damian Ferragamo said, "but we finally got it."
Two illegal-substitution penalties on Sherwood, a 2-yard run from Furman, a sneak from Thornton and an Old Mill illegal-procedure penalty followed and gave the Patriots first-and-goal at the 6 with 23 seconds left.
The call was simple: a pitch to Furman around the right end.
OM 6 0 6 8 - 20 S 0 3 3 7 - 13
OM-Thornton 1 run (kick failed)
S-FG Estrain 25
S-FG Estrain 32
OM-Furman 5 run (kick failed)
S-Wubbenhorst 1 run (Estrain kick)
OM-Furman 6 run (Furman run)