Goal-line stand lifts Dover by Baltimore Poly in OT

DOVER — Melvin Jackson said he knew what play was coming.

But Baltimore Poly quarterback Antoine Guy only needed a yard to reach the end zone.

So even though Jackson, Dover High’s middle linebacker, knew he had stopped Guy quickly, there wasn’t much room to spare.

“He was close, I got kind of scared,” Jackson admitted. “Inches.”

Apparently the referees agreed with Jackson, finally — after a discussion — ruling that Guy had been stopped short of the end zone to give the Senators a dramatic 28-20 overtime win over the Engineers in their football home opener on Friday night.

Dover’s defensive players came charging off the field in celebration after making the goal-line stand on fourth down from the one.

“I knew what I was hoping for but I didn’t know what was going on,” Dover coach Dante Jones said about waiting for the referees to make a final decision. “When we started running off I said, ‘Thank you.’”

In a game which had some big swings in momentum, the Senators (1-1) looked like they were going to win when they drove to the Poly nine-yard line at the end of regulation. But Dover missed a 27-yard field as time expired.

Getting the ball first in OT, Dover scored quickly on runs of six and four yards from junior Jerry Warren. Warren (15 carries-61 yards), who scored three touchdowns, then added the two-conversion on a run up the middle to give the Senators their eight-point advantage.

On its possession, Poly (1-2) ran for three yards before eventually reaching the one on a pair of Dover penalties. Guy ran a quarterback sneak on the final play with Jackson making the stop.

“We talk about it in practice all the time, we’ve got to keep our heads up,” said Jackson. “We can never give up. That’s what happened last year. A lot of times momentum when the opposite way and we just hung our heads.”

“We bowed up there when we needed to,” said Jones. “They showed resilience. We played a good team and we made a lot of mistakes. The penalties hurt us bad. We’ve got to clean it up.
“But I’ll take an ugly win over a pretty loss.”

In a game in which the Senators led 20-8 early in the fourth quarter, the Engineers tied it when Guy found receiver Bryant Brown down the middle of the field for a 54-yard touchdown pass with only 2:59 remaining.

After trailing 8-7 at halftime, Dover drove for a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. Warren looked like he was stacked up on a one-yard run but kept fighting and eventually walked in for the TD that gave the Senators a 13-8 lead.

Senior Karim Beatty caught a short pass in the flat and turned it into a 42-yard gain to help set up the touchdown.

Dover cushioned its lead early in the fourth quarter when QB Triston Harris faked a handoff and then bolted 23 yards up the middle for a touchdown that made it 20-8 with 10:29 left in the contest.

The Senators kept the drive alive one play earlier when punter Breon Davis threw a 10-yard pass to Dwight Wilson.

Harris completed 13-of-20 passes for 163 yards in the game while running for 62 yards on 19 carries. Davis had six receptions for 68 yards.

Baltimore Poly, however, kept battling, tying the game on a pair of scoring passes from Guy.

The Senators got off to a good start, driving 75 yards on eight plays for a touchdown on the game’s first possession. Warren scored the TD, fighting through some tackles on an 11-yard run as Dover took a 7-0 lead.

But Poly came back in the second quarter. Brown, a 6-foot-3 receiver, outjumped two Senator defenders just before the goal line to pull in a 31-yard scoring pass.

When Chaz Muse caught a screen pass and dove in at the pylon for the two-point conversion that put the Engineers up 8-7 with 7:26 left before halftime.

Dover had a chance to take the lead back when it had a first down at the Poly two yard line. But a delay-of-game penalty and then a nine-yard sack pushed the Senators back before the drive ended on a missed 27-yard field goal.

Dover was whistled for 10 penalties totalling 88 yards in the first half. The Senators finished with 17 penalties for 128 yards.

“I told them at halftime, we’re going to win,” said Jones. “We’ve just got to believe it. I told them, ‘I trust in them, you just trust in us (the coaches). We’re going to win.’

“This game of football is like a rocky mountain. You’re going to up and down, you’re not always going to be up. You’ve got to be able to fight back. They fought back.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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