With pride, the Bel Air Bobcats and Aberdeen Eagles closed out their respective grid seasons Friday night in Aberdeen.
Bel Air (5-2, 5-4) scored three first half rushing touchdowns on three possessions and then held on to beat Aberdeen (2-5, 3-7), 20-18, in an UCBAC Chesapeake Division game.
Three Bel Air running backs, Hunter Hruz, Sincere Montgomery and Marquez Kimbrough, combined for nearly 200 yards on the ground and a touchdown each.
“When you and I spoke around week four or so, when we played Havre de Grace, we’re a good football team. I believe whole-heartedly that a couple bounces here and there, we’re in a different conversation,” Bobcats coach David Huryk said. “We’re a solid team and we have a great group of seniors, all the guys you just saw in tears, they’re a tight-knit group and I love every one of them.”
Despite all the running success, it was a bit of trickery that got the Bobcats moving with the game’s opening possession.
Kimbrough took a pitch to the right from quarterback Austin Rohlfing. Kimbrough pulled up and passed to Kade Ketcham, who had gotten behind the Eagles secondary.
The play went for 59 yards and two plays later, Montgomery (nine carries, 52 yards) raced 10 yards for the score.
The extra-point kick was good for a quick, 7-0, Bel Air lead.
Aberdeen also scored on its first possession, but unlike Bel Air, it took 18 plays and over nine minutes.
Freshman Tommy Fisher did the honors on a one-yard run, but the extra-point kick was no good, leaving the Eagles a point behind, 7-6.
Bel Air needed 11 plays to get back in the end zone on its next possession. Montgomery had runs of 18 and 16 yards, respectively, on the drive, but it was Hruz (13 carries, 55 yards) running three yards for the score with 7:59 to play in the half.
The extra-point kick was no good, off the left upright, but Bel Air slid ahead, 13-6.
Forcing Aberdeen to go four downs and out, Bel Air got the ball back at midfield in the final five minutes of the half.
Eight straight running plays led to Kimbrough reeling off an 23-yard touchdown run with 1:20 remaining in the half. The extra-point was good, sending the Bobcats to the half ahead, 20-6.
Aberdeen was able get back in the game with two fourth quarter touchdowns, some four minutes apart.
Eagles quarterback Silas Jenkins ran two yards on the first play of the fourth quarter, but the two-point conversion pass failed and the Eagles were down, 20-12.
The drive started at the Bel Air 13 after a bad punt snap.
Bel Air’s next possession ended with another punt and Aberdeen’s Jahiem Jones took the punt at his own 25 and returned it 75 yards for a score.
“That was amazing, as soon as he broke to the outside, we knew he was gone,” Aberdeen coach Chris Matlack said. “Jahiem has great speed and he’s a really good returner. As soon as he cleared I was just hoping no penalties.”
There was an unsportsmanlike penalty on the play, forcing the Eagles two-point and potential game-tying conversion to come from the 17-yard line.
That pass fell incomplete.
Bel Air looked as if it had a late, game-clinching, touchdown pass from Rohlfing to Ted Zaborowski, but the play was ruled as an incomplete pass on a third and 11 from the Aberdeen 13.
The Eagles stopped the fourth down run, but their final possession started at their own eight.
Aided by a pair of Bel Air penalties, the Eagles were able to move the ball to the Bel Air 48, but a sack on first down led to the clock running out on the Eagles.
“We had some penalties that really hurt us, I mean, we made a lot of big plays and we drove the ball really well on Bel Air and I was really proud of that,” coach Matlack said. “Our line did a great job tonight. We had some missed opportunities right there with the penalties, it was really the penalties.”
Rams beat Cougars
Edgewood (7-0, 9-1) finished off an unbeaten Chesapeake season by shutting out visiting and winless Fallston (0-7, 0-9), 44-0.
Deonte Banks carried the ball just three times, but racked up 126 yards and three touchdowns in the process.
Antwain Banks added five carries for 148 yards and a touchdown, while Jonathan Levine added 41 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
Vaughntay McGraw also ran for a score and finished with 59 yards on seven carries.
Shamar Barnes led the Rams defense with eight total tackles.
Warriors beat Hawks
Also in Chesapeake play, Havre de Grace (5-2, 8-2) won at North Harford (2-5, 3-7), 28-6.
Jordan White caught two passes for 75 yards and a touchdown and he ran for 58 yards and another touchdown on four carries.
Quarterback Alex Gresock completed 3-of-6 passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. He was also intercepted once.
Jayden Hyman had the other receiving touchdown, a 26-yard reception.
Brandon Rabbitt added 148 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
Bobby Duffy led the way offensively for the Hawks. Duffy was 18-for-36 passing for 171 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Duffy added 25 yards rushing.
Leading receivers were Sam MacAtee, who caught eight passes for 73 yards and a seven-yard touchdown, and Paul Keeney with 67 yards on four catches.
Duffy also led the Hawks in tackles with seven, followed by Nathan Karcher and MacAtee with six each. Keeney and Robbie Richardson each had an interception for the Hawks.
Josh Mergler (18 total tackles) and Jesse Fenner (13 tackles). Robbie Shivers, Keishawn Torres, Brandon Stokes and White each had eight tackles and Gresock added nine.
Sam Ross and Jaylen Day had interceptions for the Warriors.
Other Chesapeake score
C. Milton Wright (2-5, 4-6) was blanked by visiting Elkton (5-2, 8-2), 35-0.
Cobras bounce back
In Susquehanna Division play, Harford Tech (5-1, 9-1) got back in the win column, blanking visiting Joppatowne (2-4, 2-8), 47-0.
Jalen Dangerfield led the way with 132 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries.
Jhalil Cooper (five carries, 96 yards) and Eddie Medina (seven carries, 44 yards) also ran for a touchdown each.
Quarterback Ryan Hunt was 1-for-3 for 69 yards. Curtis McKisset had the reception.
The Cobras other points came on a pair of interception returns. Dangerfield returned one 57 yards for points and Laday Cooper added another from 44 yards out. Kicker Tyler Long also added five extra-point kicks.
Jonathan Fletcher led the defense with seven tackles, including three sacks.
For Joppatowne, quarterback Jaylen Jones was 2-for-22 for 55 yards and the two interceptions.
Shyeim Taylor had 11 carries for 24 yards and both receptions for 55 yards.
Defensively, Jamaal Chase led with 14 tackles and a fumble recovery, while William Harris, Taylor and De'Anthony Creighton had seven tackles each.
Huskies finish winless
In non-league action, Patterson Mill (0-6, 0-9) finished without a win, losing to visiting Kent County, 14-8.
Patriots drop finale
In MIAA B Conference play, John CarrollI (2-4, 5-5) ended its season with a 27-21 loss at Arch Bishop Curley.
The Patriots led twice, 7-0, and 14-7, in the first half, but Curley scored 20 straight points to take control.
Roman Hemby led the efforts with 150 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
The Patriots played two quarterbacks and both threw a touchdown. Scott Smith, III (1-3, 19 yards) threw a 19-yard strike to Dominic Berndt, while Will Gianelli (7-12, 105 yards) tossed a 40-yard scoring pass to Anthony Palmere.
Darrius Lloyd (11 total tackles) led the Patriots defense.
Three Harford teams will be in action next in region semifinals.Havre de Grace will host in Class 1A East, while Harford Tech will likely host in 2A East.
Edgewood will play on the road in 3A North.
Reach Randy McRoberts on twitter. @aegissports