South River's big-play offense made up for Northeast's 4-yards-and-a-clump-of-mud offense last night, as the Seahawks scored a 36-22 victory to keep its Class 3A Region IV playoffs hopes intact.
Host South River (7-2, 1-0) was nearly pushed to the limit by the Eagles (3-6, 0-1), as they found themselves behind, 22-12, with 2:52 left in the third quarter of the Anne Arundel County 3A-2A game.
After a 2-yard touchdown run off left tackle from fullback Chris Kelly (34 carries 150 yards), Jaron Hairston went up the middle for a 58-yard scoring run.
Sophomore Russell Tounge's interception and 10-yard return set up Hairston for a 50-yard touchdown run, his second score off the first play from scrimmage. Hairston finished with eight carries for 139 yards and three touchdowns.
Quarterback Greg Avery's 17-yard touchdown on a broken pass play sealed the win.
"You have to give credit where credit is due. Northeast played very well tonight," said Seahawks coach Dave Summey. "They say the best defense is a good offense, and they showed that tonight. It wasn't that we couldn't move the ball on them. They just ate up a lot of time by running up the middle on us."
The steady downpour and slippery conditions didn't stop either team from moving the ball during the first half. South River took a 6-0 lead at 8:08 on a 6-yard burst by Hairston. Avery and Tounge led the eight-play, 58-yard drive, hooking up on pass plays of 30 and 17 yards.
Kelly and Todd O'Brien (16 carries, 87 yards) accepted the role of workhorses during the Eagles' first touchdown drive. O'Brien carried for 41 yards on four carries, including runs of 17 and 14 yards, setting up his running mate's 5-yard touchdown run around left end. Kelly then put Northeast on top with the two-point conversion run.
Midway through the second period, the Eagles again marched down the throat of the South River defense on a 13-play, 58-yard drive, originating at their 42. as Kelly dived in from 1 yard.
The Seahawks wasted no time getting into the end zone after receiving the kickoff. Craig Hopkins went 56 yards on a reverse that featured a cutback move 20 yards downfield.
South River will play host to Southern-AA for a Thursday night homecoming matchup. Northeast will play host to neighborhood rival Chesapeake on Friday night.