Wright prevails on OT gamble, 25-24 LaPlata ousted on conversion pass 3A football

C. M.

November 13, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

As the football coach at Havre de Grace High, where he won two state titles, Shawn Baker never lost to C. Milton Wright in eight meetings.

Last night, Baker brought his new brand of Warriors from LaPlata to Bel Air for the state playoffs and discovered the heartbreaking side of the story.

On a bold call by Mustangs coach Steve Harward, C. Milton Wright gambled for the victory in overtime and beat LaPlata, 25-24, to advance to the Class 3A state semifinals against today's Poly-Howard winner.

The winning conversion pass from Mike Schmidt to Eric McEvoy followed a touchdown on an identical play after LaPlata, which had the first crack in overtime, chose a kick by Joe Brown following its touchdown and took a 24-17 lead.

"We hadn't stopped them in three quarters," said Harward. "The biggest thing was the kids were sold on going for the victory so we did it."

LaPlata (9-2) dominated the second half, setting up a touchdown with a 55-yard punt return by Emmanuel Hinton and then tying it on a field goal by Brown with 2:26 remaining in regulation.

Only four minutes earlier, Brown had missed a field-goal try from 21 yards out that might have won it for the Warriors.

"It was a great high school football game," said Baker, who played with Harward on the powerful Bel Air High teams of the early '70s. "If I can help Steve go any farther, I will."

The Warriors had an edge in yardage at halftime, but C. Milton Wright converted breaks and big plays into a 10-point cushion.

A relatively tame first quarter resulted in only one score, a 28-yard field goal by left-footed Chris Streett that gave the Mustangs a 3-0 lead.

Don Behler set up the field goal when he recovered a LaPlata fumble by Hinton at the Warriors' 18. C. Milton Wright moved the ball only 6 yards in three plays before settling for three points.

Another LaPlata miscue was directly responsible for the game's first touchdown on the first play of the second period.

An errant pitch by quarterback D'Angelo Hemsley eluded Buster Coombs and C. Milton Wright lineman Steve Downey picked up the ball at the Warriors' 25 and raced untouched into the end zone. Streett's conversion made it 10-0.

LaPlata answered on the next play from scrimmage with a 50-yard run by Hinton on a counter call to the Mustangs' 14. Five plays later, the Warriors scored on a 6-yard sweep by Hemsley.

But the Mustangs had their own home-run response.

On their next snap, quarterback Schmidt hit sophomore Duane Fisher with a slant-in pass and Fisher made several nifty moves and eluded three would-be tacklers for a 71-yard touchdown.

Streett's conversion made it 17-7 with 8:34 left in the half.

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