Wright's charge bowls over Bel Air for 3A spot, 33-21 Down 21-6, Mustangs roll with 27 2nd-half points


November 07, 1998|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

An overflow crowd estimated at 3,000 arrived 90 minutes early, filling the bleachers and spilling onto the hills last night at C. Milton Wright to watch a game some had labeled as the biggest in Harford County in nearly 30 years.

For Mustangs running back Jerrance Carter, the scene provided more than enough inspiration.

Carter rushed for 83 of his team-high 100 yards in the second half as Wright erased a 21-6 first-half deficit with 27 unanswered points in a 33-21 win over No. 4-ranked Bel Air.

The win was crucial for the Mustangs (9-1). Not only did it give them a share of the county championship, it clinched them a spot in the Class 3A state playoffs.

"We're definitely a second-half team," said Carter, whose 1-yard touchdown plunge with 2: 09 remaining in the fourth quarter sealed the victory.

"The coach [Steve Harwood] laid it on us at halftime. He told us what we had to do, and we made the adjustments we needed to make."

Said quarterback Grant Burrough: "This team has a lot of heart."

Burrough led the comeback with a 54-yard touchdown pass to Justin Rice late in the first half, a 5-yarder to Bruce Jennings with 4: 17 left in the third quarter, and a 6-yarder to Hardy McSpadden to give the Mustangs a 26-21 lead with 9: 29 !B remaining.

Harwood said it was a matter of making corrections at halftime.

"We weren't lined up right the entire first half, and we finally got the kids in the position we wanted them to be in," Harwood said. "It was so loud out here that we couldn't even talk to get formations on the field.

"I think they got tired of getting knocked around a little bit, and that was the difference."

Bel Air (9-1) already had clinched a playoff spot, but the loss nevertheless seemed devastating.

"We just didn't execute our plays," said Bobcats quarterback Adam Rafalski, who completed five of eight passes in the first half, including a 19-yard touchdown strike to Chris Reynolds, to help his team build a commanding lead.

"They wanted it more than we did in the second half. They played with more passion than we did."

Wright looked tough early.

First, defensive back Justin Rice made a diving interception of Rafalski's pass in the corner of the end zone. Then the Mustangs embarked on a nine-play scoring drive -- including a 70-yard pass from Burrough to Carter -- capped by Burrough's 6-yard touchdown pass to Sean Bantner to make it 6-0 with 3: 17 left in the first quarter.

Bel Air, however, was quick to answer, scoring on three of its next four possessions. The Bobcats took a 7-6 lead on Rafalski's pass to a diving Reynolds, and made it 21-6 on Jimmy Brown's 29-yard touchdown run and Rafalski's 4-yard sneak.

Pub Date: 11/07/98

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