Rallying Aberdeen rules second half, 2A

Down 18, Eagles score 26 straight points to win first state title in OT, 33-25

High Schools

December 11, 2003|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

His ankle hurting badly, Aberdeen quarterback Erin Henderson slowly limped back on the field just seconds before the third-quarter kickoff.

About an hour and a half later, Henderson's teammates were ready to carry him off the field in celebration.

Henderson overcame a game full of struggles and a sprained ankle, hitting Devron Galloway for an 11-yard touchdown pass on Aberdeen's first possession of overtime to complete a miraculous second-half comeback and give the fourth-ranked Eagles a 33-25 victory over stunned Potomac in the Class 2A championship game last night at M&T Bank Stadium.

Trailing 25-7 with 4:33 left in the third quarter, the Eagles (12-1) scored three straight times in the second half to force overtime. Then, after Henderson's pass to Galloway, they won it after Willis Boykin intercepted Harold Dorman's pass off a tipped ball by Steve Moore.

In overtime, each team is given the ball at the 10-yard line. This was the first state championship to be decided in overtime since 1995 when Dunbar beat Churchill in the Class 3A final.

The comeback completed a clean sweep for Harford County in yesterday's state championship games and was the Eagles' first state title in school history. The Wolverines, from Prince George's County, fell to 12-2.

"We came in at halftime and I didn't do any rah-rah speech," said coach Joe Harbert, whose Eagles were trailing 25-7. "I just told them that there is no way to go out like that. It was just awesome, but we worked hard for this."

It was quite a night of redemption for Henderson, who hurt his ankle two weeks ago against South Carroll and hasn't practiced since.

The rust showed as he was just 7-for-24 for 115 yards and three touchdowns, but he made all the plays late as he did in the Eagles' 20-point comeback over Edgewood in the Eagles' first-round playoff win.

"I felt helpless out there," said Henderson, who added a gritty run on a two-point conversion to give Aberdeen the 33-25 lead. "I couldn't move out there and they were teeing off on me.

"I am not going to lie, there was a point in the game when I was like I can't believe we came this far for this," added the Maryland-bound senior, who didn't play his usual linebacker position after the first quarter because of his ankle. "But my teammates stepped up today. This team is going down in the books and we earned this."

Said Galloway of the touchdown reception: "No. 5 [Adam Powers] was locking me down the whole game, but I had to step up because I hadn't done anything all game."

Potomac's Dorman was a one-man show in the first half. Aberdeen couldn't tackle the elusive senior, who threw three touchdown passes and ran for another one - all in the first half. Dorman was 9-for-18 for the game for 181 yards, however his team was shut out after the intermission.

"It was us," said Dorman, who missed one series at the start of the third quarter because he was dehyrdated. "We should have won this game."

The comeback started when Carl Stokes, who caught a touchdown pass in the first half, scored on an 8-yard touchdown run with 4:33 to play in the third.

Then after stopping the Wolverines, Aberdeen's Avery Willie hit Phillip Brown on a 29-yard halfback option pass. A failed two-point conversion made it 25-19 Potomac with 58 seconds left in the third quarter.

With Potomac trying to run out the clock, Titan Trabue fumbled and Aberdeen's Richard Forton recovered. Henderson then finalized a six-play drive by hitting Ryan McVey for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 2:17 to play. Cody Martin's extra point was blocked, keeping the score at 25-all.

Galloway then picked off Dorman at the Wolverines' 35, but the Eagles' drive stalled.

Potomac 12 13 0 0 0 - 25

Aberdeen 0 7 12 6 8 - 33

P-Nickens 11 pass from Dorman (pass failed)

P-Dorman 8 run (pass failed)

A-Ca. Stokes 37 pass from Henderson (Martin kick)

P-Coles 16 pass from Dorman (pass failed)

P-Coles 38 pass frim Dorman (Scarlett kick)

A-Ca. Stokes 8 run (kick failed)

A-Brown 29 pass from Willie (run failed)

A-McVey 17 pass from Henderson (kick blocked)

A-Galloway 11 pass from Henderson (Henderson run)

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