City defense stands up Potomac for 26-22 win Late first-half stop turns game in Knights' favor

2A football

November 17, 1996|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Potomac coach Eric Knight stood at the goal line and made an imaginary line with his right foot inside the 1-yard line.

"That was the difference in the ballgame right here," Knight said. "That six-inch line or whatever it is, that's the difference. We didn't punch the ball in."

Knight was referring to the last play of the first half of No. 7 City's 26-22 victory over Potomac in a Class 2A quarterfinal game at Poly's Lumsden-Scott Stadium yesterday.

Looking to extend its two-point lead, Potomac (10-1) was stopped short of the end zone on second down at the 1 as the half expired.

"It was the difference in the game," said City coach George Petrides, echoing Knight's sentiments. "The momentum shifted and it showed our guys that we can stop them anywhere. That stop was the catalyst for what we did in the second half."

After halftime, City's defense limited the Braves to 24 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers (two fumbles and an interception).

Both fumbles -- one of which was returned 20 yards by Anthony Salley for a City touchdown -- were caused by linebacker Jason Brown on sacks.

"This is by far the best defensive effort we've had all season," Petrides said. "It was definitely a defensive win."

Offensively for the Knights, Taber Small ran for two touchdowns and Michael Johnson passed for 127 yards and a touchdown.

The victory propels City (9-2) into the semifinals against Fort Hill next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Poly.

City took a 20-16 lead on Johnson's 1-yard touchdown pass to Ali Harding-Bey on fourth down with 4: 11 remaining in the third quarter and extended its lead with another big play by the defense.

Brown's hard-hitting sack of Potomac quarterback Stephen Carter jarred the ball loose and Salley scooped it up and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown to give City a 26-16 advantage after three quarters.

A change in quarterbacks momentarily sparked the Braves offense in the fourth quarter.

James Price, a more accurate passer than Carter but not as mobile, directed a five-play, 57-yard drive that culminated in a 20-yard touchdown pass to Roderick Crestwell to reduce the Knights' lead to 26-22 with 6: 06 left.

The drive marked the first time the Braves had crossed midfield in the second half.

City was forced to punt on its next possession and Potomac got the ball back at the Knights' 49 with 4: 14 remaining.

Price connected with Crestwell on passes of 14 and 10 yards to move to the City 25.

Enter Brown again -- this time through the back door.

Brown blindsided Price with a crushing hit to force another fumble, which Brown recovered at the Knights' 43.

"I just thought about getting there as fast as I can so he couldn't get the ball off," Brown said.

After City failed to get a first down, the Braves had one final opportunity on offense. But Warren Smith intercepted Price at the Potomac 17 to secure the win.

Pub Date: 11/17/96

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