Wildecats slip-slide their way to sloppy 3-0 overtime defeat of Lions Fumble near goal line seals Howard's doom

September 27, 1992|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

Craig Butler is known mostly for his speed, yet Butler was simply in the right place at the right time Friday night when Howard nearly handed Wilde Lake its first defeat against a county football opponent in four years.

Butler recovered a fumble in Wilde Lake's end zone by Howard running back Guy Smith, who appeared headed for a game-winning touchdown, as the Wildecats preserved a 3-0 victory in overtime.

Seth Willingham, Wilde Lake's quarterback/kicker, kicked a 25-yard field goal for the winning margin.

It was an excruciating loss for Howard (0-1, 2-2), which had the Wildecats on the ropes several times, especially in overtime.

In overtime, each team gets four chances to score from the opponent's 10-yard line. The first team to score then keep the opponent from outscoring it is the winner.

Wilde Lake (1-0, 3-1), which saw its 28-game winning streak end last week in overtime against Southern (Anne Arundel County), managed only two yards in three plays from the Howard 10.

On fourth down, Willingham's field goal barely cleared the crossbar.

Howard answered with Smith (19 rushes, 101 yards), who had hurt the Wildecats all night.

On first down, Smith gained six yards to the Wildecats' 4. Then, on second down, Smith ran off left tackle, and with a blocker in front of him, appeared headed for the end zone and victory.

But just before he crossed the goal line, the ball squirted out of Smith's hands and ended up in Butler's. It was the first fumble of the night for Smith.

The entire game was played in a steady, driving rain that gradual

ly turned Howard's field into a pond and quickly turned the game into a battle of running backs.

While Smith did his damage, Mike Green (16 carries, 104 yards) basically accounted for Wilde Lake's offense.

Both teams blew golden opportunities to score during regulation.

Wilde Lake had its chance in the fourth quarter, after taking over at its own 35 and finally putting together a drive behind the powerful running of Green. First, Green picked up 10 yards to the Wilde Lake 45.

Then, after gaining two yards, Green reeled off 13 more yards to Howard's 40, then gained 16 more on three carries to give Wilde Lake a second-and-four at the Lions' 24.

A fumbled snap and a one-yard run by Green put the Wildecats in a fourth-and-four situation.

Willingham then faked a handoff to Green and lofted a perfect pass to Nate Cassella, who had beaten his defender by five yards.

But Cassella dropped the pass in the end zone.

Howard's best shot came in its first possession, thanks partly to the weather.

On the game's first play, Willingham fumbled the snap, and the Lions recovered at Wilde Lake's 36.

Smith then ran four times for 27 yards to give the Lions a first-and-goal at the Wildecats' 9.

On first down, Smith carried to the 2, but the drive stalled. Curtis McTavish was dropped for a two-yard loss, Smith gained a yard to the 3, and on fourth-and-goal, quarterback Brad Stubbs tried to pass to Smith in the end zone.

The pass fell incomplete.

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