C. Milton Wright's football team lost its bid for a second-straight appearance in the state title game by the slimmest of margins last weekend.
The Mustangs (10-1), seeded second in Class 3A, fell to Douglass, of Prince Georges County, 28-27, in the final 2 minutes, 15 seconds.
Of the four Harford County football teams in the state quarterfinals, only Class 1A Joppatowne succeeded in getting past the first round. Aberdeen also fell in Class 3A while Edgewood dropped a Class 2A game.
For the Mustangs, this was the second straight year they have gone into the state playoffs undefeated. Only a big Douglass pass play in the final minutes kept the Mustangs from advancing to this weekend's semifinals.
In a game packed with big plays, Douglass quarterback Kyantae Hawkins made the game-winning passes.
First, he hitGreg Lawrence for an 80-yard touchdown. Then on the conversion, he again hit Lawrence, who ran a couple yards and fell over a defender into the end zone for the winning points.
The Mustangs had taken thelead two minutes earlier on Zi
Shum's 4-yard run and Mike Weichert's extra point.
In another Class 3A game, Ab-erdeen fell to top-seeded and defending champ McDonough, of Charles County, 26-12. Demetrius Harris scored both touchdowns for the Eagles (9-2).
In Class 2A, Edgewood had a 12-point lead on top-seeded Overlea before falling,24-20, in the final 10 minutes.
The Rams (8-3) led 20-8 in the second quarter. Corey Anderson, Lawrence Worthington and Drew Pekala scored touchdowns for the Rams. Pekala's came on a 13-yard pass from quarterback Keith Kimmel with 5:30 remaining in the second quarter for the Rams' final score.
Joppatowne's football team continued its playoff tour of the state this weekend with a trip to Western Maryland.
Last week, the Mariners (8-3) took a 2 1/2-hour bus trip to Cambridge where they beat Cambridge-South Dorchester, 24-12, in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A state playoffs. Yesterday, they were to meet Smithsburg at the Western Maryland school for the semifinals.
A victory over Smithsburg would earn the Mariners a trip to College Park for the title game to be scheduled Friday or Saturday.
For Joppatowne, which won its first state playoff game since Coach Karlis Larsonarrived four years ago, defense proved to be the key. The Mariners forced seven turnovers.
"It wasn't that they had trouble holding onto the ball -- we were hitting them hard," said Larson, whose squad recovered five fumbles.
"We had some real legitimate hits, some devastating hits. I went back and watched the film and I was impressed with our hitting."
The sixth-seeded Mariners used those turnovers to take a 16-0 halftime lead. They scored all 24 points before second-seeded Cambridge got on the board. Chris Weber, Bill Hadrys, Damon Davies, Vernon Wingfield and Don Thomas led the defense with some big plays.
Thomas batted down a pitch, recovered the ball and ran 61 yards to the 4-yard line to set up the Mariners' final score of the game. Mike Taylor (23 carries, 72 yards) scored three plays later for his second touchdown of the game.
Mark Johnson scored the other touchdown on a 24-yard pass from Davies.
The Mariners' defense also contained Cambridge star Antwain Chester, who had rushed for more than 1,400 yards during the regular season.
Chester scored both touchdowns for Cambridge, but he didn't break the big plays Larson had feared.
"He was super fast," said Larson. "He was parallel to or maybe a little above (Aberdeen's) Demont Blackmon. Every time he touched the ball, I was scared to death."
Larson also expected defense to bethe key against Smithsburg, another team with a strong running game.