AMERICAN CORNER — On a cold night, both offenses started hot here Friday night under the lights at Colonel Richardson High.
It was the Cougars who sustained that heat.
Junior running back C.J. Turner rushed for 191 yards and scored five touchdowns to lead Fallston High’s football team to a 46-32 victory over Colonel Richardson in the opening round of the Class 1A East playoffs.
Fifth-seeded Fallston (5-5) travels to meet No. 1 Cambridge-South Dorchester (8-2) next Friday at 7 p.m.
Fallston scored on all eight of its possessions, including two field goals by Kevin Roberts — the second one giving the Cougars a 27-24 halftime lead. Cougars senior quarterback Justin Wiegand connected on 11 of 16 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
The Colonels (5-5), playing their first-ever home playoff game, scored on their first two possessions but couldn’t sustain that production.
“We played really hard tonight,” Cougars head coach Jimmy Grant said. “We were winless last year and for us to be playing in the second round of the playoffs now is a heck of an accomplishment. We’ve got a lot of really good kids. They practice really hard. The play really hard. Tonight was tough. What they run, their offense is very difficult to stop. It’s packed in tight. That double-wing offense is hard to stop. We practiced hard against it all week, but you can’t replicate what they do in practice.”
Colonel Richardson cut a 39-24 deficit 39-32 with 8:09 to play, but the Cougars then produced a 14-play touchdown drive, including two fourth-down conversions, that left only 1 minute and 14 seconds to play.
During that drive, on a fourth-and-6 from the Colonels 31, Wiegand connected on a pass with senior Cameron Burns who used a one-handed grab while tangled up with a Colonel defender to reach the 1-yard line. A 15-yard penalty for illegal participation backed up Fallston to the 16. But, on a third-and-goal from the 13, Turner scooted up the middle for his fifth TD to make it 45-32. Roberts added his fourth extra-point of five attempts.
“They made some really good plays,” Colonels head coach Dan Mangum said. “You saw the last play, the kid reached down and made the one-arm catch. It was just one of those things. It went back-and-forth there for a while and they got the big stop and we didn’t, and they had the field-goal kicker. First home-playoff game. We did some good things and hopefully these guys will come back next year and make it happen.”
Colonel led three times, 8-0, 16-7, and 24-17 before the Cougars scored 10 points to close the first half. Wiegand scrambled to his right and threw a short pass to Brandon Klaben, who broke a tackle and ran up the right sideline for a 53-yard TD. Roberts’ extra-point tied the game at 24.
Sammie Wilson, a junior, intercepted a pass from Colonel senior quarterback Jackie Zebron with 53 seconds remaining in the first half. On a third-and-19 at the Cougars 35, Wiegand faked a quick out and delivered a long throw along the left sideline where Nick Curry hauled the ball in before going out of bounds at the Colonels 18. With four seconds on the clock before halftime, Roberts hit a 35-yard field and Fallston led the rest of the game.
Turner caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Wiegand with 9:10 left in the third quarter and scored with a 5-yard run to put the Cougars up 39-24 with 2:03 remaining in the quarter.
Colonel countered with an 11-play touchdown drive to close within seven points. Senior fullback Elijah Stull scored from two yards and sophomore running back Cam Errickson added a two-point run that ended the Colonels’ scoring.
Errickson had opened the game with a 48-yard touchdown run and a pass from Zebron to Stull put the Colonels up 8-0. The Cougars responded quickly with a 39-yard TD run by Turner with 8:12 left in the first quarter. Zebron scored with a 7-yard keeper and Errickson ran the ball into the end zone for two points to put CR up 16-7 with 4:43 left in the quarter. Less than a minute later, Turner added a 53-yard TD run.
After a Colonel punt, Roberts hit a 30-yard field goal to put the Cougars in front 17-16 with 8:35 remaining in the second quarter. Mason Lambert ran up the middle for a 2-yard TD carry and Zebron found junior tight end Elijah Palmer in the end zone for two points for the Colonels’ final lead, 24-17.
Colonel finished the game with 252 yards rushing on 37 carries. The Colonels were held to just 20 passing yards.
“Our kids responded well,” Grant said. “We got some momentum at the end of the half with the interception and then Kevin Roberts kicked a big field goal for us, which sent us into the half ahead. We were getting the ball too, which is a big lift … we felt that if we scored we would really put the pressure on those guys. It wasn’t decided until the end. Our offense tonight was just fantastic.”
Cambridge-SD 47, Havre de Grace 34
CAMBRIDGE — Khalik Beasley carried 22 times for 104 yards and three touchdowns, and Malik Ennals totaled 109 yards and a touchdown on six rushes, as the top-seeded Vikings amassed 296 yards on the ground en route to ousting the No. 8 seed Warriors (2-8).
Cambridge-South Dorchester (8-2) will host fifth-seeded Fallston (5-5) on Friday at 7 p.m. in a 1A East semifinal.
Camren Lake carried 13 times for 66 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings, and quarterback John Henry completed 4 of 7 for 96 yards. Placekicker James Frazier booted field goals of 22 and 37 yards, and converted 5 of 6 point-after kicks.
Kanye Pinder returned an interception for a touchdown for Cambridge-SD, which also got interceptions from Beasley and Lake.