Hammond gets leg up, 13-12, against Towson in opener

September 05, 1992|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

In the past three seasons, Towson High has acquired a label as the best team that doesn't make the state football playoffs.

Yesterday, the Generals again lived up to their "just-missed" reputation.

On its home field, 14th-ranked Towson sabotaged itself with penalties, an ailing kicking game and fumbled snaps, dropping its season opener, 13-12, to Hammond of Howard County.

Generals coach Bob Davis wanted to shoulder the blame for the defeat after a botched punt attempt set up Hammond's winning touchdown drive from the Towson 28-yard line in the fourth quarter.

"It was my fault," said Davis. "I shouldn't have put my punter [senior Henry Keyser] in that situation. I wanted to kick on third down, but I let my coaches talk me out of it."

The Generals were backed up inside their 20 because of two penalties, and had a third-and-30 situation facing them. After ......TC 19-yard running gain on third down, Keyser was brought in to punt.

Graduation and transfers have depleted the Generals' kicking corps, so Keyser, who previously played soccer, got the call. He unleashed a low-trajectory attempt that crashed into the oncoming rushers.

Eight plays later, freshman running back Tim Spruill swept left end from the 4 to tie the game with 3:50 left. Senior tackle Danny Boone followed with the conversion kick, cementing the upset.

Towson reached the Golden Bears' 32 on its final thrust, chiefly on a 26-yard sweep by Mike Banegura, but was stopped on downs.

"That's the first time in two years we've ever come back late and won a game," said Golden Bears coach Joe Russo. "It wasn't pretty, but we'll take it. I think they [Towson] got a little worn out because they have so many people playing both ways."

It wasn't easy to push in the clincher. Russo tried senior Erin Woodward twice up the middle after Spruill had picked up a key first down. But Woodward was stopped cold before Spruill slanted to the corner of the end zone.

Towson had success with quick-hitting runs by Scott Carpenter. He burst through Hammond's line for a 59-yard touchdown run to break a 6-6 halftime tie.

But another kicker, Pete Cline, couldn't convert from placement, leaving the opening for the Golden Bears.

Towson had a slight edge in total offense (234-218) but couldn't overcome two lost fumbles on center snaps and the kicking miseries.

Davis dressed 26 players and has nine going both ways.

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