Aberdeen breaks C.M. Wright hex with 22-21 win on field goal

September 17, 1994|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

After rolling over Pikesville in its opener last week, Aberdeen's unranked football team expected last night's matchup with Harford County rival C. Milton Wright to be its first true test.

It was, and the Eagles passed.

A 27-yard field goal by Paul Gasdia with 2:43 left in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winner for host Aberdeen, which held off No. 13 C. Milton Wright, 22-21, for the first time in five years.

"It's almost like C. Milton Wright has a six-point lead every time we step on the field because we haven't beaten them for so long and that was one thing we had to overcome," said Aberdeen second-year coach Kevin Reilly. "We're not a huge team, physically, but our guys played their guts out tonight. It sure wasn't coaching."

An offsides penalty, a holding call and a fumble ended Aberdeen's first possession.

The Mustangs experienced similar problems early but managed to score first when junior Duane Fisher broke loose for 48 yards on a quarterback draw midway through the second quarter. Several Aberdeen would-be tacklers had a shot at Fisher, but none of them could wrap him up.

The Eagles (2-0) answered, however, on their ensuing possession. Senior Eugene Norton, who was put into the game during a timeout by Reilly, took a handoff from his position at end a took it across the grain for a 55-yard touchdown run. Gasdia's point-after tied it at 7 with 2:43 left in the half.

The Mustangs (1-1) regained the lead before the half ended. Fisher's sideline pass to Tim Billings worked for 49 yards and gave the visitors a first down at Aberdeen's 23-yard line. Two plays later, fullback Richie Juergenson ran 18 yards for a touchdown on a draw pay. Fisher then bulled his way into the end zone on a keeper for the two-point conversion and a 15-7 halftime lead.

FTC After struggling to move the ball on their first two possessions of the third quarter, the Eagles got the break they needed when junior Keith Marshall fielded a punt near midfield and returned it 51 yards for a score. The Eagles tried for two but came up short, leaving them down by two with 3:26 left in the third.

Aberdeen didn't have to wait long to take the lead. On the first play of the Mustangs' ensuing possession, sophomore Andy Gasdia scooped up a fumble at C. M. Wright's 31 and raced untouched for the go-ahead score. Again the two-point conversion attempt failed, but Aberdeen was still up, 19-15.

Behind an offensive line that averages more than 280 from tackle to tackle, the Mustangs drove downfield before Juergenson took it in from 3 yards out on the 16th play. The Mustangs went for one point and came up empty and led 21-19 with 7:08 left.

"The big play hurt us all night long," said Mustangs coach Steve Harward.

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