Big 4th quarter boosts N. Harford

Joppatowne's missteps allow No. 12 Hawks to score 23 points in final period

North Harford 37 Joppatowne 12

September 30, 2006|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to The Sun

Joppatowne stayed close throughout most of last night's game at North Harford. But when the Mariners began making mistakes, North Harford converted those miscues into points that turned a nail-biter into a rout.

Quarterback Dan Griffin and running back Bryan Woolson sparked a 23-point fourth quarter that helped No. 12 North Harford pull away for a 37-12 victory over Joppatowne in an Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference game.

Griffin completed seven of 10 passes for 141 yards and three touchdowns. Woolson ran for 120 yards on 15 carries and also scored once.

North Harford (3-0, 1-0) took advantage of several Joppatowne blunders, especially in the second half. The Hawks scored touchdowns on four consecutive second-half drives - three of which came after Mariners turnovers. Joppatowne (2-2, 0-1) scored on the first play of the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie on the conversion, but North Harford scored the game's final 23 points.

"We knew big plays were going to be an issue [because] they can score at any time," North Harford coach Ken Brinkman said. "We were able to capitalize on their mistakes."

The Hawks opened up their offense in the fourth quarter as the Mariners kept trying to get pressure at the line. Griffin saw some openings and threw two touchdowns in the period.

North Harford also benefited from an officiating mistake late in the first half. Leading 7-6, Griffin threw a pass that was deflected and intercepted by Joppatowne's C.J. Townes. The junior appeared to have clear sailing for a 90-yard touchdown, but the official inadvertently blew his whistle and ruled the play dead.

North Harford scored its lone first-half touchdown after Eric Koerber blocked a Mariners punt, and the Hawks held that 7-6 lead at halftime.

In the third period, Tyler Maguire made the first of two interceptions to set up Griffin for a 2-yard touchdown run. Joppatowne's Xavier Martin scored on a 3-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 14-12. But Mike Kropkowski knocked down Hawks quarterback Brandon Selby's conversion pass that would have tied the game.

"[The fourth quarter], that's what we're all about," North Harford's Devon Brown said. "I knew we could handle it in the fourth quarter."

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