Reisterstown downed Westminster, 12-7, in the C Conference title game and pulled out a last-minute, 12-6 B game thriller over the Sykesville Raiders. Arbutus, a first-year league team, blanked the Sykesville Raiders' A team, 30-0.
But Raider A team coach Jon Barnowski said he likes the tough challenges posed by the Baltimore Countians.
"You help your program by bringing quality in. It will force the weaker teams to improve their teams and their coaching," he said.
The red-clad Arbutus Golden Eagles provided plenty of quality Saturday, much ofit in the form of running back Harvey Dawson.
The youngster, looking for all the world like a smallish O. J. Simpson, combined trickery, speed and power to slash seemingly at will through the Sykesville defense.
He also scored three touchdowns.
Barnowski dialed the derring-do section of the Raider playbook in hopes of defeating the bigger, faster, undefeated Eagles.
Using a series of reverses and double-reverses capped by halfback option passes, his Raiders controlled the ball much of the first quarter.
"They were beefier up the middle, so we tried to hit them with everything we had," Barnowski explained.
But his team never seriously threatened to score.
HavenBarnes' pass interception and return to the Arbutus 30 near the end of the first half gave the Raiders their only real chance to score inthe game.
But they fumbled, and only Steve Zumbrun's saving tackle at the Sykesville 8-yard line prevented an Arbutus touchdown.
Bythen the score was already 16-0, and Arbutus continually dominated thereafter.
Barnowski was nevertheless pleased.
"We were glad tobe here. We came pretty far for someone expecting a .500 season," hesaid.
The Raiders' B team of 11- and 12-year-olds came a lot closer to victory Saturday, even though their hearts were broken at the end.
With a strong cross-wind hampering both offenses, Sykesville trailed, 6-0, in the fourth quarter.
Stymied on offense and desperately needing a break, Sykesville got it when the team recovered a fumbled punt on the Reisterstown 6-yard line. But three plays failed, and with fourth down looming, Raider coach Herb Starlings called time.
"I told them I wanted Calvin (Stacey, who was to carry the ball onthe next play) to run to the left corner," Starlings explained.
But the youngster was forced into the middle of the field and was momentarily lost in a host of tacklers.
But he somehow squirted through and into the end zone to tie it, 6-6.
"Now we've got a game," said a happy Sykesville assistant coach with a big grin.
But not forlong.
With less than a minute left in the contest, Reisterstown quarterback Brant Hall whipped a bullet pass down the middle to DwayneBens,and the youngster bolted 62 yards to pay dirt.
"We played our hearts out and gave 110 percent," Starlings said. "It was one crack. The guy got it, and that was it."
Westminster's C team also cameclose, as running back Tavon Saunders' 12-yard run in the second quarter and Greg Frech's quarterback conversion sneak gave the team a 7-6 lead.
But Reisterstown went ahead for good in the third quarter.
Ignoring the wind that had earlier hampered his passing game, Westminster Coach John Frech opened it up late in the game, with Scott Carnegie hitting several halfback option passes.
But Westminster's hopes died at the Reisterstown 20-yard line at game's end.
"I was confident we could beat them," Frech said later. "But kids are unpredictable. What they did all year, they couldn't do at the end."