Eastern Tech rallies by Wright, 34-25, reaches first state final 21-point third quarter pushes Mavs' mark to 12-0

Class 3A football

November 21, 1998|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Second-ranked Eastern Tech simply had more horsepower in a battle of Mavericks and Mustangs last night, coming from behind to defeat C. Milton Wright in the Class 3A state semifinals, 34-25, in a drizzle at Kenwood.

The Mavericks, down 12-6 at the half, used a 21-point third quarter to go up 27-18, entering the fourth. They improved to a school-record 12-0, advancing to their first state title game in only their second playoff appearance.

Wright (10-2), in its ninth playoff berth in coach Steve Haward's 13 years, had won six straight games.

Eastern will play Friendly, of Prince George's County, a 49-13 winner over Broadneck of Anne Arundel County last night, next weekend at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium.

Wright's loss overshadowed an excellent night by Mustangs quarterback Grant Burrough (17 of 31, 182 yards). His favorite target was Derrick Autry, who had eight catches for 116 yards and touchdowns of 7, 15 and 20 yards.

Burrough also had a 12-yard scoring pass to Tony Palumbo that had the Mustangs within 27-25 with nine minutes to play.

But with 7: 04 left, Burrough was intercepted for a 51-yard scoring return by Anthony Lawston, whose earlier 28-yard scoring reception from Scott Pearce gave the Mavericks a permanent lead, 19-18, with 2: 09 left in the third period.

The Mustangs had taken an 18-6 lead, driving six plays and 76 yards for Autry's third score, but the Mavericks answered on their first play of the period with Ray Jones' 78-yard scoring run. Eastern then got Lawston's score, a 35-yard interception return by Jerome Owens and Steve Lawston's extra-point run. Jones, who also had a 64-yard run to end the first half, finished with 171 yards.

"They had us, but we came back. This is one of the greatest feelings I've ever experienced," said Lawston, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound All-Metro pick who also broke up two pass plays. "We scrimmaged them earlier and thought we had the upper hand, but they showed us they'd improved."

Jones had only 15 rushing yards before breaking a tackle in the backfield off a pitchout and sprinting 64 yards for his 27th touchdown. That made the score 12-6 with 3: 32 left in the half.

Before that, however, Wright's defense was all over Eastern Tech behind Carter Hugo (two fumble recoveries), Sean Bantner's blocked punt, and Jay Edwards' blocked extra-point try. Still, the Mustangs botched two of three first-quarter scoring drives inside the Mavericks' 15 before Hardy McSpadden stripped the ball from Jeff Gutowski after his 40-yard reception.

That set up Burrough's 7-yard scoring pass to Autry, and a second touchdown pass to Autry made it 12-0 with 5: 20 left in the half.

"It was a great game, and everyone played their hearts out," said Autry. "But Eastern Tech's the best team we've played all year, and they showed that tonight."

Eastern Tech now has won 20 of its last 21 games.

Mark Spangler had two sacks for Eastern Tech, and teammate Ralph Henry picked up his 24th sack of the year.

The Mavericks went 1-9 in their first season under Nick Arminio -- now in his fourth year -- then 7-3. They were 9-2 last year, suffering a 48-18 first-round playoff rout at the hands of eventual runner-up Thomas Johnson in the school's first playoff berth.

C. Milton Wright 6 6 6 6 -- 25

Eastern Tech 0 6 21 7 -- 34

Autry 7 pass from Burrough (kick failed).

C--Autry 15 pass from Burrough (pass failed)

E--Jones 64 run (kick failed).

C--Autry 20 pass from Burrough (pass failed)

E--Jones 78 run (kick failed)

E--A. Lawston 28 pass from Pearce (Gutowski kick)

E--Owens 35 INT return (S. Lawston run)

C--Palumbo 12 pass from Burrough (McSpadden kick)

E--A. Lawston 51 INT return (Gutowski kick)

Pub Date: 11/21/98

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