Havre de Grace falls short in semifinal, 28-20 Ground game carries So.-Garrett to victory

1A football

November 26, 1995|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

A punishing ground assault got the better of a quick-striking air attack, but Southern-Garrett's 28-20 Class 1A state semifinal victory at No. 8 Havre de Grace (8-4) did not come without a struggle at Harris Field yesterday.

Down the stretch, it was two teams against the clock.

With the score tied at 20, Aaron Newcomb's third short-yardage touchdown of the game (all behind linemen weighing 270 and 240 pounds) gave Southern (10-2) what proved to be the winning points with 1:21 left.

Newcomb had gone 29 yards to score moments before that, but it was nullified by a penalty. It took five plays to score thereafter, time Havre de Grace could have used.

Still, the Warriors had enough time, getting a first down at the visitors' 35, but two incomplete passes, a sack and a final incompletion ate up the final seconds.

"They were too strong for us," said Havre de Grace coach Tom Marron. "We hurt ourselves, too, because we didn't stay low [when lined up], and we confused ourselves. We jumped offside twice to keep one of their scoring drives going."

The Rams were led by potent junior running backs Newcomb and Howard Crosso, who had combined for more than 2,000 rushing yards during an 8-2 regular season. Yesterday, they had 169 yards, all four touchdowns, and 26 of the 28 points.

Senior quarterback Andrew Woods, son of 16-year head coach Tom Woods, kept the Warriors off balance with an occasional sweep, and the only pass he threw was a third-down completion to set up a go-ahead touchdown before the half.

"We saw films of their last three games, and you could tell they [Havre de Grace] had superior athleticism," said the coaching side of the Woods' family.

"We don't have a lot of speed, so we knew it would be their skills against good old Western Maryland football -- just pound it out until the other team gives up. But here, they didn't give up.

"We wanted to control the tempo of the game, because time of possession would be in our favor, and we knew we had to, because they can score so quickly."

The Warriors showed this right away, going 60 yards in eight plays for a touchdown on the opening series.

Senior quarterback Billy Jackson first completed a 39-yard pass to Damon Presberry to reach the Southern 5-yard line. On fourth down, Jackson found J. R. Clark wide-open in the end zone for the first of two touchdown passes to the senior receiver.

Jackson went on to finish 10-for-20 for 140 yards and three touchdowns, and Wilbur Ballard carried eight times for 24 yards.

The Warriors got strong defensive play from linemen Josh Rollman, Brian Wainwright and Chris Willis, and linebackers Brad Spence and Ballard.

Southern scored on drives two of the next three times it had the ball for a 12-6 halftime margin.

Ballard covered an onside kick to start the third quarter, and Jackson passed to Clark for the last 27 yards to tie the score at 12.

Later in the quarter, a superb fake and run by Woods went for 19 yards to the 6-yard line, and Newcomb went over from the 2 to send Southern ahead again.

Jackson threw an 8-yard scoring pass to Tim Wilson over the middle and a two-point pass to Clark to tie it for the final time, 20-20, with 8:49 remaining.

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