The Oakland Mills football team discovered yesterday that there is life without Korey Singleton. Despite finding out this week that their leading rusher and scorer was lost for the season, the Scorpions overcame a two-touchdown deficit to defeat visiting Laurel, 27-26, in a Maryland Class 3A quarterfinal.
The outcome was sealed when defensive back Gregg Washington intercepted Greg Ford's pass in the end zone with 15 seconds left.
Singleton injured a knee two weeks ago, and in rapid succession his team lost the bulk of its offense, an undefeated season and the Howard County championship to Wilde Lake.
Yesterday sophomore Derrick Brooks led the way, rushing 21 times for 128 yards and three touchdowns. His 67-yard touchdown run -- the first play following a 25-minute injury delay -- caught the Spartans by surprise and provided the game-winning points.
The Spartans delivered the big plays at the start of the game. After Laurel stopped the Scorpions' first series, Gary Joseph picked up Washington's bouncing punt on his 5-yard line and ran down the right sideline to put the Spartans up, 6-0.
Oakland Mills sputtered again on its next series, managing only three plays. After the Spartans capped a six-play, 40-yard drive with Erick Thomas's 23-yard touchdown run, the Scorpions found themselves down, 12-0.
"We were going to come out in the power-I," said Coach Ken Hovet, "but we had to switch back to our traditional offense."
That meant relying more on the passing game, particularly quarterback Joe Coughlan and split end Washington (four receptions, 45 yards), who hooked up on a fourth-down pass to the Spartans 20 -- Oakland Mills's initial first down. Four plays later Brooks ran eight yards for a touchdown.
Oakland Mills took the lead for good with two second-quarter scores. Following a fumble forced by defensive lineman Robbie Bundy deep in Spartans territory, Brooks scored again from 15 yards with 5:01 left in the half.
The Scorpions defense held on the next series and Coughlan hit Washington in the back of the end zone for an eight-yard score with 19 seconds remaining to make it 21-12.
Thomas scored from 40 yards in the third quarter. Following Brooks's last score, Laurel pulled within a point when Ford hooked up with William Griffin from 24 yards, then hit Mark Tiamson for the two-point conversion.
Oakland Mills's Ricky Gray was treated at Greater Laurel-Beltsville Hospital for a lower back strain and released.