In a thrilling finish in Fort Washington, the Friendly High School football team used some unique strategy and put together a game-winning drive in the final minutes to earn an 8-6 victory against County 3A/2A/1A League rival Gwynn Park on Friday night.
After opening the 2011 season with four consecutive shutout losses, Friendly is off to a 2-0 start in 2012. Gwynn Park dropped to 1-1.
“Our kids just had that little something in them to win tonight,” said Patriots coach Peter Quaweay.
Trailing, 6-0, with a little more than four minutes remaining in the game, Friendly had one last shot to put together a drive to either tie or take the lead.
With the pressure mounting with each passing second, the Patriots engineered a drive that was filled with drama.
Facing a fourth and seven, Friendly quarterback Thomas Corbett II hooked up with tailback Dajahn Lowery on a 14-yard pass play. Two plays later, the Patriots came out in a formation they call “get back” where all players line up on the line of scrimmage — aside for the quarterback who is in the shotgun — but 15 yards separate the guard and tackle on both sides of the center.
From there, the Patriots called nine consecutive quarterback draws, which led to a fourth and goal from what appeared to be the one-inch line.
On the pivotal fourth down play Friendly lined up in a traditional power formation and it appeared that Gwynn Park's defensive line overwhelmed the Patriots and knocked the offensive line straight into Corbett, who began to fall.
But at the last instant before his knee hit the ground, Corbett flipped the ball to tailback Khaylen Rouse, who went into the end zone unscathed to tie the game, 6-6, with 25 seconds remaining.
Deciding to go for a two-point conversion, the Patriots lined up in the “get back” formation but decided to pass. It appeared that a Gwynn Park defender was going to intercept the ball, but Rouse jumped over the defender's back and ripped the ball away for a successful two-point try.
“That last play, we had a play for the fullback,” Corbett said of Rouse's touchdown run. “I saw everybody on top of our center and it was a standstill. But I know we always option off our tailback and he was on the edge all alone. So I just looked back and there [Rouse] was.”
Gwynn Park blew a potential scoring opportunity in the first quarter with a third and goal situation at the Patriots' 2-yard line. The snap sailed high over the head of Yellow Jackets quarterback Jay Adams and rolled 23 yards backward, where the Patriots recovered it.
“Basically we just beat ourselves all day,” said Gwynn Park coach Danny Hayes. “The first play of the game, we score a touchdown that was called back on a holding penalty. Then we had a bad snap at the 5-yard line and that just hurt us big time. So many things like penalties and turnovers hurt us tonight.”
Friendly 8, Gwynn Park 6
Gwynn Park (1-1) 0 0 6 0 — 6
Friendly (2-0) 0 0 0 8 — 8
G — Brennan Mayes 25 pass from Jay Adams (run failed)
F — Khaylen Rouse 1 run (Rouse pass from Thomas Corbett II)
Friendly — Thomas Corbett II 7-14-62-1; Brandon Robinson 1-1-55-0
Gwynn Park — Jay Adams 5-15-63-1
Friendly — Ali Murphy 6-31; Khaylen Rouse 6-1; Daniel Cary 1-0; Thomas Corbett II 10-3; Ravon Davis 1- -4; Dajahn Lowery 3-27
Gwynn Park — Joseph Hayman 10-59; Marc Bronson 17-73; Eddie Gross 2-11; Jay Adams 3-4
Friendly — Alameen Murphy 2-52; Brandon Robinson 3-28; Ravon Davis 1-10; Dajahn Lowery 2-32; Khaylen Rouse 1-5
Gwynn Park — Brennan Mayes 1-25; Xavier Ducksworth 2-21; Joseph Hayman 2-17