C.M. Wright ices tie for league title Fourth-quarter drive nets 8-2 victory over Bel Air

November 08, 1997|By Mark Hoeflich | Mark Hoeflich,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

It took almost the entire season, but C. Milton Wright finally salvaged some good from an unpredictable year.

The Mustangs' turnaround from a 2-3 start was stamped two weeks ago with a win over then-No. 8 Aberdeen. They sealed it with an 8-2 win last night in the mud and steady rain at Bel Air.

With the win in the final regular season game for both schools, the Mustangs (6-3, 6-1) assured themselves of at least a tie for the Harford County League title with Aberdeen (also with one league loss), which downed Edgewood, 14-0, last night.

"We lost some tough games in the beginning of the season, but the guys stayed together as a group and it paid off," said Wright coach Steve Harwood.

At times this season, the Mustangs have failed in critical game situations. Last night, however, they reversed their fortune early in the fourth quarter with the game-clinching drive.

It began at their own 44-yard line and was highlighted by a 15-yard run by Dave May that set up first-and-goal. Two plays later, May scored from a yard out, breaking a 2-2 tie that lasted for three quarters. C.M. Wright failed on the conversion run with 5: 51 remaining.

The drive was keyed by a tremendous effort from the Mustangs' offensive line, specifically Bryan Rodriguez (6-5, 258) and Joe Brown (6-3, 303).

"At halftime the coaches told the offensive line to pick it up because we were lacking in the push we needed," Rodriguez said. "On May's run, everything just came together. Me and Joe stepped out, and the rest of the line pulled together."

"We weren't breaking any big plays, and we finally got one," May said of his 15-yard run. "There wasn't a whole lot of time left in the game, but I knew if we scored we would have a great chance of winning."

Still, the Bobcats (8-2, 5-2) had a chance to comeback. After Phil Hunter ran twice for 14 yards, a face mask penalty gave Bel Air a first down at the Mustangs' 19. Then the Bobcats were dropped for losses on their next two running plays and quarterback Adam Rafalski was twice sacked.

"I think both teams had to adjust to the conditions. C. Milton Wright put some plays together when they had to, and we weren't able to put any long drives together," said Bel Air coach Bruce Riley.

Hunter, the league's leading rusher with 1,261 yards, finished with only 62 yards on 18 carries.

Botched punts by both teams led to the only scoring of the first half, two safeties.

Pub Date: 11/08/97

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