Paul Gillette kicked a 24-yard field goal with five seconds remaining to give No. 14 Severna Park a come-from-behind 15-14 victory over No. 20 Watkins Mill last night in a Maryland 4A quarterfinal before approximately 2,000 at Roberts Field in Severna Park. The Falcons advanced to the semifinals, and they will face top-seeded Gaithersburg next week in Gaithersburg.
Severna Park (10-1) took over at its 34-yard line with 5 minutes 55 seconds remaining and drove 11 plays down to the Watkins Mill 6-yard line. Gillette, who missed an extra point on his only other attempt in the first quarter, slipped the kick inside the right upright.
"I was nervous after missing that first extra point," Gillette said. "It felt good off my foot. I thought I may have pushed it, but it went in. "
Watkins Mill (9-2) led 14-6 going into the fourth quarter, but Severna Park senior linebacker Starke Mueller intercepted a pass by Jeff Haeder and ran it 28 yards into the end zone to bring the Falcons to 14-12 with 10:09 to play. On the two-point conversion attempt, Severna quarterback Chris Odom (11 of 23, 99 yards, one touchdown, one interception) was brought down at the 2 as he scrambled to his right.
"I said it in the begining, we'll be ready in the fourth quarter," Severna Park Coach J.P. Hines said. "We're disciplined, we're well-conditioned, and we're in better shape. The kids brought it tonight. Montgomery County's got great football but Anne Arundel County came to play."
Watkins Mill was hurt by the loss of 6-foot-5, 280-pound offensive-defensive lineman Erik Noll early in the game. Noll, who has committed to play at Penn State, left on the opening drive with an injured right shoulder. Noll reentered the game for one play defensively with 5:14 remaining in the third quarter, busted through two Severna Park offensive linemen and hurried Odom into throwing an interception. The play killed a 10-play Severna Park drive and Wolverines linebacker Rick Nelson returned the interception 49 yards to the Falcons 21. But Noll fell to the ground as the Wolverines lined up for their next play, and did not return.
"I would have liked to have had him in on our last drive," Watkins Mill Coach Ken Brace said. "He'll tackle people. We didn't tackle as well as we needed on that last drive."
Severna Park opened the game with a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive over 5:18. Odom completed 4 of 5 passes for 60 yards on the drive, mostly on rollouts and quickouts. On third and four from the Watkins Mill 24-yard line Odom rolled right and found junior receiver Art Friday on the right sideline. Friday eluded a Wolverines defender and scooted into the end zone to put the Falcons ahead 6-0.
Watkins Mill responded on its second drive, going 52 yards in eight plays. Senior running back Chris Jews capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown run over right tackle to put Watkins Mill ahead 7-6.
Nelson blocked a Mueller punt and Watkins Mill lineman Chad Groht picked up the loose ball and ran three yards into the end zone with 2:52 remaining in the third quarter to put Watkins Mill up 14-6. But the Wolverines could not stop Severna Park in the fourth quarter.
"I knew the game wasn't over," Odom said. "We've come back from behind before. There was time left so anything was possible."