The Clock Strikes Midnight for the Eagles

The Clock Strikes Midnight for the Eagles

Murugi Thande

Benjamin McKnight III, Sports Editor

Riding a three game winning streak, their first ever playoff win, the North Point Varsity Football team traveled to Old Mill of Anne Arundel County on November 18th hoping to continue their success against the undefeated Patriots. Old Mill, best known for their senior running game behind senior halfback Rob Chesson, came into the game average just over 42 points per game, a far cry from the eight points per game given up by the Eagles defense. In 2009, Old Mill came to North Point and shut out the Eagles in the first round 24-0. Determined not to let history repeat itself, the Eagles knew that, in order to win, Chesson and the Old Mill running game must be stopped.  Much to North Point’s dismay, Chesson didn’t know how to stop.

From the start of the first drive for North Point, things were looking far from great. After receiving first, the Eagles gave up the ball on the following play when a miscue between the center and quarterback Connor Young (’12) lead to a fumble that the Patriots recovered. North Point did stop Old Mill on their first drive, forcing a turnover on downs after four plays. The Eagles then began to put a good drive together, but that too resulted in no points for them.

When Old Mill’s offense got the ball back, they wasted no time in moving it. Chesson took a handoff, broke free and nearly scored, getting tackled on the three yard line for a 72 yard run. Plays later, he finally scored, putting the Patriots up 7-0 in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Eagles seemed to find new life after recovering a muffed punt return by Old Mill. The Eagles failed to capitalize on the recovery, and had to punt the ball again. Punter Brian Thompson (’13) put the Eagles in great position on defense when his kick landed on the Old Mill one yard line, but the bad position didn’t stop the Patriots from losing their momentum. That very drive, Old Mill used a steady mix of short passing and a pounding run game, and the diversity of play-calling proved to be effective, and Chesson scored again to put Old Mill up 14-0. It only got worse for North Point when, on the ensuing kick-off, the return was muffed and the Eagles ended up on the one yard line. The first half finally ended in disappointment for the Eagles, and both teams went into the break with Old Mill shutting out North Point.

At half time, Head Coach Ken Lane told his players, “We need to go out there and play North Point Football, and we’ll win this game.” The players apparently heard the message loud and clear, and North Point went back onto the field on a mission to get back into the game. After forcing Old Mill to punt on the opening drive of the second half, North Point went back to their running game roots, and it paid off when Young capped off the eight minute drive with a sneak from two yards out, bringing the Eagles deficit down to seven points.

In the fourth quarter, Old Mill continued to take it to the Eagles, giving the ball to Chesson again for a 49 yard touchdown run. Getting the ball back, North Point was hitting desperation time, trying to avoid ending the season before they desired to. But, on such a crucial drive, the Patriots intercepted a pass intended for fullback Frank Marshall (’12), and scored one last time a few plays later off of a run from their senior fullback Seth Holbrook.

North Point failed to score on their final possession, and Old Mill entered the victory formation for the final minute, taking the game from the Eagles with the final score of 28-7. This was a tough loss to swallow for North Point, especially for the seniors, as this was their final high school football game. “Being an only child, you guys are like brothers to me, and I love all of you,” said an emotional Dwain McCray (’12), fighting back tears. Kortez Prather (’12) added, “Even with the good and the bad, I wouldn’t have wanted to play with anyone else except (you all).”

The Eagles ended the season with a 9-3 record. Though the loss was a disappointment for the players and the fans, this year’s team took a big step towards success down the road for the North Point football program. One can hope that this year’s experience can be used to set a new standard for the Eagles to bring greater success in the future.