Oakland Mills rides Ellis, Welsh to 18-13 win over Long Reach Scorpions steal 5 passes and solidify playoff hopes

October 11, 1998|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Oakland Mills finally knows how it feels to defeat Long Reach.

After losing to the third-year school twice, the perennially strong Scorpions rode five interceptions and a career game by fullback Joey Ellis to an 18-13 victory at Oakland Mills yesterday.

The Scorpions (5-1 overall, 4-1 league) solidified their Class 1A playoff hopes. Long Reach (3-3, 2-3) must now win its final four games to have any chance of making the Class 2A playoffs.

Ellis rushed nine times for 128 yards, caught four passes for 50 yards and scored the winning touchdown on an 80-yard interception return 18 seconds into the fourth quarter.

"The holes were wide open," Ellis said. "Our line was crushing people."

It was a game of shifting momentum with Ellis' interception negating a Long Reach threat. Trailing 12-7, the Lightning recovered a fumble and then kept alive its drive on a roughing-the-punter penalty, moving as far as the Oakland Mills 27-yard line before the Ellis interception.

"Ellis' TD was the big play of the game because it gave us back the momentum," Oakland Mills quarterback T. J. Welsh said.

Welsh played a major role in the victory as the 6-foot-3, 215-pound senior's experience and poise contrasted sharply with Long Reach quarterback Stewart Long's inexperience. Welsh is a three-year varsity starter. Long was starting his third varsity game.

Welsh completed 10 of 20 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns. He threw one interception to Luis George with 53 seconds left in the game, and that gave Long Reach a last gasp, starting at its own 35-yard line.

A 27-yard slant to Ken Nightengale, who caught six passes for 80 yards, moved the Lightning to Oakland Mills' 39-yard line. But A. G. McCray intercepted for Oakland Mills on the game's last play. He joined Ellis, Vinie Rubbo, Robert Roche and Brian Holley with Scorpions interceptions.

Holley's interception in the third quarter was also a major momentum shifter. Long Reach had driven from its 12-yard line to the Oakland Mills 18, when he picked off a pass and ran 57 yards before he was finally tackled from behind by Long at the Long Reach 25.

That set up a go-ahead, fourth-down touchdown on a 9-yard pass from Welsh to Tom Browne, who caught five passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns.

"It was a perfectly thrown pass," Browne said.

Browne also scored Oakland Mills' first touchdown on a 55-yard play, hauling in a deflection off a Long Reach defensive back at the 8-yard line.

Long Reach scored on its first possession of the game -- a 1-yard sneak by Long. A 55-yard pass to Devin Conwell set up that score.

Chris Brooks led Long Reach with 94 yards rushing on 10 carries. Conwell had 69 yards on 18 carries. Oakland Mills' star running back Vinnie Rubbo was held to 51 yards on 17 carries and was thrown for losses six times.

In other area games:

No. 1 Gilman 17, Mt. St. Joseph 14: Damien Davis ran for 132 yards, including a 90-yard touchdown as the top-ranked Greyhounds edged the Gaels.

Ryan Boyle had 115 yards on 15 carries, including a 42-yard scoring run, and the Greyhounds' Andrew Faraone had a 32-yard field goal in a game that was scoreless at the half.

No. 5 Wilde Lake 27, River Hill 7: Jimmy Levins had 15 carries for 250 yards and two touchdowns to power the No. 5 Wildecats (5-1) past the Hawks (3-3). Danny Bayron rushed 13 times for 41 yards, a touchdown and a two-point conversion.

Centennial 27, Atholton 0: Four different players scored touchdowns for the Eagles (3-2) as they rolled over the host Raiders (1-5).

Drew Mauer returned the opening kickoff 92 yards, and Tim Mitroka had a 4-yard run in the first quarter to give the Eagles a 13-0 lead at the half. Matt Deuchler and Josh Wallace scored on runs of 2 and 1 yards, respectively, in the second half.

Howard 35, Hammond 8: Gerald Smith rushed nine times for 160 yards and three touchdowns to power the Lions (5-1) past the visiting Bears (1-5).

Pub Date: 10/11/98

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