Huntingtown, MD – In a game that was moved up a day due to the threat of Hurricane Joaquin, both Huntingtown and Chopticon came out itching to hit each other. The rain that fell throughout the game made the running game an essential part of each team’s game plan toward success.
On the first play of the game, Huntingtown quarterback Andrew Pawlowski and running back Allen McKelton couldn’t come together on a handoff, and fumbled the ball away. Chopticon took over on the ‘Canes 35, and strung together a few first downs, but their drive stalled on the 11, where they turned it over on downs.
Huntingtown couldn’t do a thing with the ball offensively, going 3 and out. A 24 yard punt by Pawlowski set Chopticon up at the Huntingtown 37. They drove down, and converted a one yard touchdown run by running back Brandon Blackwell.
Huntingtown blocked the PAT, but Chopticon held the lead 6-0 with 5:51 left in the first quarter. An exchange of punts, and good field position management by Chopticon ended when on the first play of the second quarter, Chopticon blocked a Huntingtown punt, and recovered it on the 11 yard line. They couldn’t muster a touchdown, and settled for a 23 yard field goal. This made the score 9-0 in the second quarter.
Huntingtown struggled on offense in the first half, again turning it over on downs to the Braves. Blackwell made them pay as he busted loose a run towards the Chopticon bench, and outran the defenders for a 23 yard score. The two pointer was good, and the Braves held a 17-0 lead going into halftime.
In the second half, there were three straight punts, two by Chopticon, before something happened. Pawlowski took the snap from center, took a 5 step drop looking to his right for his receiver, and lofted a pass out that way. His receiver, and Blackwell both jumped for the ball, but it was Blackwell who came down with it. This marked the end of Pawlowski’s night as on the next Huntingtown possession, backup Connor Jones was in the game. That next possession came quick when the Braves fumbled the ball away to the Cane’s, who took over on the Chopticon 14. They got inside the 2 on their drive, but back-to-back fumbled snaps doomed Huntingtown, as Chopticon recovered the second of the two. The Braves took over on the 2 yard line, but on third down, Chopticon’s center rolled a shotgun snap back to the quarterback, Erik Reese, who attempted to throw a pass, but was sacked before he could get rid of the ball. This resulted in a safety, and made the score 17-2.
This put wind into the Cane’s sails as they got into the game, and the small home crowd that braved the elements got into the game. The Cane’s defense forced a punt, and Jones drove the Hurricanes down the field, resulting in a 3 yard touchdown run by running back Dylan Crum. They missed the two pointer, but had cut into the lead 17-8. On the ensuing kickoff, Huntingtown hit the Braves with a surprise onside kick, and they recovered it. They took over on the Chopticon 43. On the first play after this kick, Allen McKelton found a hole in the Chopticon zone, and hauled in the pass from Jones. He was hauled down at the 1, but Jones sneaked one across the goal line on the ensuing play. The extra point was good, and it was a 17-15 game with just over 7 minutes left in the game.
Chopticon went into chew clock mode and just ran Blackwell heavy on their following drive. Blackwell fumbled the ball away at the Cane’s 25 however, and gave Huntingtown one last shot. With 1:57 left, Huntingtown faced a 4th and 9 following an incomplete pass, Jones threw a corner route to his tight end, who over ran the football, and the pass fell incomplete.
The Braves took over on downs, ran out the clock, and that’s all she wrote. The Braves escaped with a 17-15 victory over the Hurricanes. Huntingtown drops to 1-4, and will play at Northern next week. Chopticon improves to 4-1, and will play North Point at home next week.