COLLEGE PARK -- In the end, the Friendly Patriots of Prince George's County simply had too many weapons.
Friendly (13-0) broke open a close game by scoring 20 points in the final 2: 12 of the first half -- including two touchdowns 19 seconds apart for an 18-point halftime lead -- en route to winning the Class 3A state championship, 45-29, over No. 2 Eastern Tech last night before over 3,000 at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium.
The title was Friendly's fourth, a Prince George's County record.
The Mavericks (12-1), making their first state title-game appearance, trailed, 33-15 late in the third quarter.
However, they were still within striking distance with 6: 15 to play after Scott Pearce (13-for-28, 180 yards), facing fourth-and-goal at the Friendly 8, found Jerome Owens on a scoring pass to make it, 39-29.
But the Patriots' Bobby Lane ran for his fourth touchdown -- from 24 yards with 3: 37 to play -- for the final margin. Lane (219 rushing yards) also ran for scores of 2 and 25 yards and caught a 10-yard scoring reception from Keith Ferguson (149 passing yards, one rushing touchdown).
The game's 74 points tied the state title-game points record established in Valley's 58-16 rout of Snow Hill in 1977. And Eastern Tech's 29 points were the most Friendly has allowed this year. The teams combined for 800 yards of total offense.
"We came back, so we feel good about that, but we thought we could win and [we] came up short," said Pearce, who threw another scoring pass to Anthony Lawston (five receptions for 62 yards) and has thrown 19 touchdown passes this season.
The loss overshadowed an excellent effort by Eastern Tech's Ray Jones (35 carries, 198 yards), who scored his 29th and 30th touchdowns and finished with 2,187 yards. Defensively, Ralph Henry's five sacks raised his total to 29 for the year.
"That kid No. 20 [Jones] is outstanding," said Friendly's third-year coach George Earley. "He doesn't quit, his balance is excellent and he runs hard."
Friendly, ranked No. 3 both in Washington and in Maryland's Associated Press poll, had blown out its previous opponents by an average margin of 35.1-8.0, including consecutive playoff routs over No. 6 Bel Air and No. 4 Broadneck by a combined, 90-20.
But Eastern Tech was within 7-2 until there was 2: 12 left in the half.
That's when Jemal Strong returned an interception to the Mavericks' 13, setting up James Parker's 4-yard run.
Keith Ferguson's two-point conversion run made it 15-2.
Then Strong returned his second interception 54 yards to make it 21-2 1: 53 before the intermission.
The Mavericks answered by driving 55 yards on eight plays, capped by Jones' 2-yard run. Jeff Gutowski's extra-point pulled the Mavericks to 21-9 with 16 seconds left in the half.
But Ferguson answered with a 37-yard pass to Ed Anderson, followed by his 14-yard scoring run for a lead of 27-9 at halftime.
"I feel good that we made it here, but I give it to them, they outplayed us," said Henry, whose squad required overtime to win its first couple regular-season games and overcame two-touchdown deficits to win three others.
"We played with pride, but these guys had a little more in them." Jones rambled 20 yards to make it 27-15 with 9: 25 left in the third period.
But the Patriots got a 66-yard kickoff return from Parker that set up Ferguson's 10-yard scoring pass for a 33-15 lead with 7: 08 remaining in the third quarter.
Eastern Tech. 0 .. 9 ... 6 ....14 -- 29
Friendly .... 7 .. 20 .. 12 .. 6 -- 45
State football Championships
Oakland Mills 15, Forestville 12
Seneca Valley 7, Suitland 6
Urbana 24, Fort Hill 7
Friendly 45, Eastern Tech, 29
Pub Date: 11/29/98