As Eleanor Roosevelt lined up for a 24-yard field goal attempt with 39 seconds left yesterday, C.H. Flowers running back Rapheal Johnson faced an unhappy predicament. He had carried his team throughout the game, but fumbled away a potential victory in the waning minutes.
But the snap skidded low, holder Jeff Harrison was thrown for a three-yard loss, and the No. 14 Jaguars ran out the clock for a 13-12 victory over the visiting Raiders in a Maryland 4A South Region semifinal.
Johnson led the way with 23-carry, 188-yard rushing performance that included the winning score. But he had just given the Raiders (7-4) the ball by fumbling at the Jaguars 23, setting up the field goal attempt.
"All year long, when we've needed [Johnson], he steps up," Jaguars Coach Mike Mayo said. "When he fumbled the ball at the end, I told him, 'Just keep your head up.' "
The end capped a wild game in which the teams combined for 135 yards in penalties. Roosevelt went up 12-0 in the second quarter on a spectacular defensive play by Cory Peterson, who swiped the ball from the right hand of Jaguars quarterback Kenneth Byrd as he dropped back to pass on fourth down and raced 75 yards for the touchdown.
One play before that, Antoine Cuff's 10-yard touchdown run was negated by a holding penalty.
"When they swiped that ball, I was like, 'Oh my Lord, it's going to be one of those days,' " Mayo said. "But I just said, 'Let's get on the board, and we'll see.' "
The Jaguars (10-1) finally caught a break late in the half when a Raiders punt netted two yards and gave them possession at the Roosevelt 22. Two plays later, Byrd found Mike Rhea in the end zone for a 16-yard pass, cutting the deficit to 12-7.
Johnson, who had rushed for a school-record 257 yards in a 28-12 win over the Raiders last week, broke free for a 30-yard touchdown run at the start of the fourth quarter to give the Jaguars their first lead of the game, 13-12.
"I never felt like we were going to lose the entire game," Johnson said. "There were some scary moments, but I felt like we could pull it out."