Chesapeake rebounds past Northeast, 38-13

Rob Elliott set the tone for Friday night more than eight years ago when he interviewed for Chesapeake’s head football coaching position.

“I told them that other guys would look at this as a stepping stone to another position; I want to be here,” Elliott said.

That desire showed in the resiliency of his team as Russell Tongue scored two touchdowns and the Cougars’ defense snatched four turnovers in a 38-13 victory over rivals Northeast in a Class 3A East semifinal.

Chesapeake (8-3) will face either James M. Bennett or Long Reach next week. That game was moved to today.

Marcus Neal had an interception while Zach Baumann, Cody Carpenter and Jimmy Revels-Allen recovered fumbles for Chesapeake (8-3), which bounced back from last week’s heartbreaking 28-27 loss to the Eagles (7-4) in the Dena Bowl.

“We just kept our composure and made sure that we made tackles,” Neal said. “We just put the energy forward all game.”

Josh Krcik, who scored three touchdowns in the win last week, got Northeast on the board on the game’s second play from scrimmage. He bounced to the right and down the field for a 73-yard score. Krcik finished with 119 yards rushing.

“We then fumbled on the next drive,” Elliott said. “But we have done a fairly good job responding. We were down 14-0 to South River in the first, and gave up early touchdowns to Catonsville and Lansdowne. We have faced that adversity and we just had to be resilient.”

Chesapeake turned Northeast over on downs on the ensuing drive and evened the game up on a 9-play, 77-yard drive that culminated in a two-yard touchdown run by Khalil Gary.

Then, Tongue took over. With a little over four minutes remaining in the half, Tongue received a punt at his own 48-yard line and went 52 yards for the go-ahead score. Chesapeake never looked back.

“I saw open grass, then I saw one guy in front of me that I stiff-armed, then I saw open grass again,” Tongue said. “We came in with the same intensity as last week, but this time we pushed it 10 times better and we came out with the W. It feels historical out here.”

Neal recorded his interception on the ensuing drive and Tongue scored again, this time on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Young. Tongue stole the ball out of a Northeast defender’s hands at the goal line.

“Penalties and turnovers were the difference tonight,” Northeast coach Brian Baublitz said. “Every time we got across midfield, we fumbled. They did a great job keeping us off the board.”

Colton Spangler drilled a 37-yard field goal for the only points in the third quarter as the Cougars extended their lead to 17. Last week, up 20, Chesapeake could not finish off the Eagles. That was not a problem this time around.

“Last week, we are up 27-7 and in great shape and they ran the punt back, and you could see the panic,” Elliott said. “This week, we throw an interception and it was totally different on the sideline. We held them to seven the first half last week and we stopped tackling for whatever reason. We just tackled this week. That was probably the biggest difference. That and the composure.”

Jaylen Richardson and Zach Schuler scored matching four-yard touchdown runs in the fourth for Chesapeake. Brandon Hackney ran for 73 yards. The Cougars’ rush by committee approach got the job done.

“It was a great feeling and the rotation has been working great,” Schuler said.

Billy Katzenberger scored on a 12-yard run in the waning seconds for Northeast. The seven wins was the most for the program since 2004. The team’s first playoff appearance since 1981, and second overall, may just be the beginning. Baublitz looked over at his rivals with a sense of pride.

“Rob is a great friend and he has done an amazing job here,” Baublitz said. “The pride in our program is off the charts; we have had the culture change I was looking for. We had 10 sophomores on the field tonight that were giving us some quality snaps. There is a lot of talent coming back and the program is on the rise.

Northeast (7-4) 7 0 0 6 13

Chesapeake (8-3) 7 14 3 14 38

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