The Fort Meade JV Miners hosted the Lake Placid Green Dragons last Thursday with a common desire shared by both squads — a first win of the season.
But this night would belong to the Miners as they dug deep into the playbook for some creativity, enabling a last-minute, come-from-behind 12-10 victory, their first after five straight losses.
“Yes, it was a tough one,” said JV head coach Clinton Cornelius, when asked about the challenge of getting the first win. “Really glad to have it. To be honest with you, our boys really needed that win for their morale.”
Not only would the Miners finish the game in style, they would start things off well too. After stopping the Dragons first drive at midfield, the Miners took over at their own 42 yard line.
Using four different ballcarriers, Fort Meade traveled 58 yards in 12 plays, all on the ground, for the opening score. Tyler King, DeAndre Holley, Kevin Blandin, and Stephan Jones all toted “the rock”, with Jones bursting through for the final three yards and the touchdown. The PAT kick by Diego Maldonado was blocked but the Miners led 6-0 with 9:11 to go in the first quarter.
The Miner defense would force a Dragon punt but a fumbled return gave it right back to Lake Placid, essentially creating a 12-play drive that ended on a 34-yard field goal cutting the Miner lead in half at the half.
The third quarter was a draw as both teams struggled to get anything going. Going into the fourth quarter, Lake Placid initiated a drive starting at their 35 yard line. A Miner defense that had contained the Dragons all night, suffered a breakdown, yielding a 41-yard run to the Miner 20 yard line.
Four plays later, the Dragons scored the go-ahead touchdown on a four yard run. The kick was successful and Lake Placid led 10-6 with just 5:52 left in the game. A three-and-out by the Miners didn’t help matters and the Fort Meade defense had to step up, and they did just that, forcing a Dragon punt.
This would be the final shot for the Miners and they needed to make it count.
Starting at their 46 yard line with 2:39 left on the clock, Fort Meade got a nice 12 yard run by Jaren Barfield into Dragon territory. Two more plays put the ball at the Lake Placid 39 yard line when the Miners called a time out to set something up.
Facing a 3rd-and-7, Holley took the snap and pitched it to Chris Combee who swept to the right side, looking to run. Suddenly, Combee pulled up and turned, launching a throw 25 yards to a wide-open Tyler King at the Dragon 15 yard line. King waltzed into the end zone with just 1:14 left, giving the Miners a 12-10 lead they would not surrender.
“We told them in the huddle, ‘We can score on this-everybody do your job-and we’ll score. And it worked out,” Cornelius said.
Still needing just a field goal to win, it looked like Lake Placid would get the opportunity, getting a 32 yard pass to the Miner 30 yard line with 20 seconds left. But this would be the Miners night, as the Miner defense stripped the Dragon receiver right there, recovering the fumble and taking the victory formation on offense to close out the first win of the season.
Coach Cornelius hopes his boys can add another this week, as the Miners host Sebring tomorrow night at Battle Field.
“We would like to see them get this next one,” said Cornelius. “I’m expecting a good practice on Monday. I’m sure they’ll be excited.”
With a bye for the varsity this Friday, the JV are the only game in town this week, so come on out and support the boys as they seek to finish the season out on a strong note.