Rowan kicks Gators to upset

Perry Hall 10 Hereford 7


September 09, 2006|By Todd Karpovich | Todd Karpovich,Special to the Sun

Blake Rowan's 35-yard field goal as time expired lifted visiting Perry Hall to a 10-7 upset over No. 13 Hereford yesterday.

It was the second straight year the Gators beat the Bulls in the season opener.

Rowan admitted that he was nervous before the winning kick, but he knew a win could set the tone for Perry Hall, which is looking to bounce back from last year's loss to Sherwood in the Class 4A North regional title game.

"I just tried to keep my head down and kick it straight," Rowan said. "My teammates kept saying it was going to come down to me. That was probably the biggest game of the season, so it meant a lot."

Neither team could generate much offense.

Perry Hall opened the scoring on a 1-yard sneak by senior quarterback Jason Mattison (7-for-15, 106 yards) with 2:27 left in the half. However, Hereford immediately countered when senior Justin Witkowski returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards to tie the game.

"It was a huge win," said Perry Hall coach Nick Arminio, who was last year's Baltimore County Coach of the Year. "The defense played great all game. I think we pretty much controlled the football game. This was no fluke. We outplayed them and we deserved to win."

Perry Hall's defense held Hereford to 60 total yards. Bulls coach Steve Turnbaugh said his team's lack of offense cost it a game he thought was winnable.

"Our special teams played great, and our defense played great," said Turnbaugh, whose teams won state titles in 1997, 2001 and 2002.

"Their defensive line whipped our offensive line. Every phase of the game I was pleased, with the exception of the offense. There is a major problem there, obviously. We only have two guys who play on both sides of the ball, so we should have been fresh."

Last night's matchup featured two teams that finished last season in unfamiliar territory. "These seniors have experienced one loss in four years," Arminio said.

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