The second-seeded Joppatowne High football team was upended by visiting Rising Sun, 20-18, last night in a Class 1A state quarterfinal.
Rising Sun (6-5) scored on the second play from scrimmage when senior halfback Keith Mackey caught a pass from quarterback Nick Long and sprinted 95 yards, untouched, for a touchdown.
"It was blown coverage," said Joppatowne coach Karlis Larson. "We had been preparing for it all week, and they just caught us off guard."
Rising Sun coach Don Hall said he spotted the void immediately, and then his quarterback took over.
"I noticed the quarterback drifting back toward the center of the field, and a red light went off in my head," said Hall, whose Tigers bowed to the Mariners, 14-6, in the season opener for both squads. "I knew we had it, I just didn't know which receiver was going to get to it."
The Mariners (7-4) tied the score at 6 in the waning seconds of the first quarter, but yielded another score in the second period and trailed, 12-6, at the half.
nTC Rising Sun built the lead to 20-6 five minutes into the second half, after a 36-yard touchdown strike from Long to wide receiver Curtis Dean. Dean reached over a Joppatowne defender to catch the ball.
Joppatowne answered in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns but failed to find the end zone on a pair of two-point conversion attempts.
"We didn't play well in the first half, and we made a lot of mental mistakes," said Larson. "We are a young team, so we are going to make mistakes, but by the 11th week of the season we shouldn't."