Catoctin rallies in second half to edge Boonsboro

October 14, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

THURMONT, Md. - Boonsboro's first-half fortunes couldn't be carried into the second half, and the Warriors watched a 13-point halftime lead evaporate as Catoctin clawed its way to a 35-28 victory in a critical MVAL Antietam Conference fray on Friday night.

With a gas tank full of energy, Boonsboro rolled to a 28-15 lead after the first 24 minutes, with quarterback Mike DeBarge scoring twice, rushing for 121 yards and throwing a 12-yard scoring pass to Kyle Kane. The Warriors had 270 total yards of offense in the first half.

However, the Cougars (5-1, 3-0) stormed back in the second half and posted two scores in the final quarter to overtake the Warriors (4-2, 2-1).

"(Catoctin) punched us in the mouth in the second half and we didn't respond," said DeBarge. "They wanted it more in the second half. They pushed us off the line (of scrimmage)."


While the offense sputtered to the tune of 59 total yards in the second half, Boonsboro's defense tried its best to match the shutdown that Catoctin's defense was putting on the Warriors.

Even after quarterback D.J. Doyle scored for Catoctin in the third quarter on a 4-yard run, Boonsboro still led, 28-21.

But the Warriors couldn't sustain any offensive momentum. Despite a 25-yard run by Matt Wetzel that gave the Warriors possession at the Catoctin 35 on the first play of the fourth quarter, the drive stalled and faced fourth-and-9.

Instead of punting and possibly pinning Catoctin deep in its own territory, the Warriors elected to go for the first down. But DeBarge, out of a shotgun formation, was thrown for an 8-yard loss.

The Cougars then put together a 58-yard drive that ended on Robert Groft's 12-yard TD run with 7:28 left. Catoctin's PAT kick failed and Boonsboro still led, 28-27.

"We rolled the dice on that call," said Boonsboro coach Clayton Anders. "(Mike) had success running the outside. If I have to make that call again, I'd be punting."

Boonsboro's next possession was ill-fated. On fourth-and-11, a bad snap forced DeBarge to roll to his left and he couldn't get off a punt, resulting in Catoctin getting the ball at the Boonsboro 16.

Four plays later, with 4:24 remaining, Groft punched into the end zone from 4 yards out and Sean Chilson's conversion run gave the Cougars a seven-point edge.

Doyle intercepted a DeBarge pass on the next set of downs and Catoctin needed only one first down to run out the clock. But the Cougars botched a handoff and Boonsboro had a last life with 2:41 to play, taking over at its own 49.

Two rushes and a 19-yard pass from DeBarge to Wetzel got Boonsboro to the Catoctin 21 with 1:33 to play. But the Warriors were denied as DeBarge missed on four straight pass attempts, finishing the night 3-of-18.

Boonsboro jumped to a 14-0 lead early in the first period when DeBarge ran 40 yards for a score and Will Dayhoff scooped up a fumble and returned it 56 yards for another score.

After Catoctin responded with two scores for a 15-14 lead, DeBarge's TD strike to Kane and his 20-yard scoring run put the Warriors back in a positive frame of mind by halftime - though it did not last.

"Catoctin controlled the line of scrimmage and we didn't" said Anders. "They controlled the clock and they did it with first downs in the second half. It's no surprise how efficient they were."

DeBarge, contained in the second half, led Boonsboro with 102 yards on 14 carries, while Kane added 70 yards on 11 carries for a backfield that seriously missed Ryan McClean, serving a one-game suspension.

The Warriors were also hindered by the loss of Curtis Wolfe, who played exceptionally well in the first half with a pair of sacks before being sidelined with an ankle problem in the second half.

"We were a little nicked up and short on people," said Anders. "It was a tale of two halves."

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