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(Enlarge) Havre de Grace's Travonn Bond leaps to make the catch against Brunswick in Friday night's state semifinal game. (Nicole Munchel | Aegis staff)

For the first time in 22 years the Havre de Grace Warriors will play for a state football championship.

The Warriors will play for the Maryland Class 1A State Championship, Saturday at noon at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens.

The opponent: the 12-1 Dunbar Poets, who knocked off Fort Hill 20-14 in Saturday’s other state semifinal.

Havre de Grace earned its trip to this year’s state final with a solid 34-14 semifinal win over visiting Brunswick on Friday night at James R. Harris Stadium.

In a game featuring two junior quarterbacks who are drawing national attention, it was Havre de Grace senior running back Michael Kelly who stole the show.

Kelly shredded the Railroaders defense for 289 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries to lead the Warriors into the finals for the first time since 1988. Kelly had two touchdown runs of 53 yards and added a key three-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal midway through the third quarter.

It was the two quarterbacks though, Brunswick’s Ian Fisher and Havre de Grace’s Darin Washington, who produced the game’s first points by both teams.

The Railroaders opened the scoring on their second possession from their own 5 after a Tom Buchanan interception.

The Railroaders mixed the run and the pass on the 95-yard scoring drive that lasted 13 plays.

Fisher, an imposing figure at 6-6, 255 pounds, tossed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Blaine Price with 42.4 seconds left in the first quarter.

Price had caught passes for five and 16 yards respectively earlier in the drive that never had a third down.

Tate Rolland added the conversion kick for a 7-0 lead.

Havre de Grace responded and appeared ready to score its first points, but came a up a yard short.

Kelly opened the drive with a 42-yard run to the Brunswick 20.

Four plays later, Kelly took a delayed handoff 12 yards to the Brunswick 5-yard line on fourth-and-7.

Kelly ran to the two on first down and then ran for no gain on second down. Washington’s third down pass was incomplete and then Washington’s fourth down run around right end was marked out of bounds at the 1.

The Havre de Grace stiffened, holding Brunswick running back CJ Shankle to nine yards on three consecutive carries.

The ensuing punt gave Havre de Grace field position at the Brunswick 45.

Two incomplete passes led to a Kelly nine-yard run on third down and a Washington two-yard sneak on fourth down.

The new set of downs saw fullback Jordan Stallings pick up one yard, before Kelly ripped off 19 yards to the Brunswick 14.

Three plays later, Washington had a great fake to the right and then turned back to the left for an easy 10-yard stroll for touchdown. Ryan Weismiller’s kick knotted the score 7-7 with 5:29 to play in the half.

Two holding penalties against Brunswick put the visitors in a third-and-38 situation. On third down the Railroaders tried a short pass, but Warrior lineman Robbie Orzewicz sniffed it out and made the tackle for no gain.

That prompted another punt and more good field position for the Warriors, who began their go-ahead scoring drive from their own 46.

On third-and-9 from the 47, Kelly took off on his first 53-yard touchdown jaunt with 1:56 to play.

Weismiller’s kick made it 14-7, but the final 1:56 was more than eventful.

Havre de Grace got the ball back and was at the Brunswick 30 when Washington’s quick pass to the left landed right in the arms of Brunswick’s defensive back Rolland.

Rolland raced toward the Warriors end zone as the time was ticking off the clock and was tackled at the Havre de Grace eight-yard line with 3.9 seconds showing on the clock.

The Railroaders’ one play was an incomplete pass.

Brunswick got the ball to begin the second half and moved from its own 35 to the Warriors 31 on three passes and a nine-yard run by Fisher.

Three incomplete passes led to a fourth down pass to Tyrus Lawson, who was dragged down two yards shy of a first down by Chris Askew.

Four plays later, Kelly was on his way to the end zone with his second 53-yard touchdown run. The kick was no good, leaving the Warriors with a 20-7 lead at the 8:17 mark of the third quarter.

The excitement quickly switched to the Railroaders sideline and stands as Lawson took the ensuing kickoff back 86 yards for a touchdown. Rolland’s kick pulled the Railroaders back to within a touchdown, 20-14.

Havre de Grace answered back with Kelly’s third touchdown run, set up by Washington’s 41-yard pass to Travonn Bond and the running of Kelly, Washington and David Kelly.

A successful two-point conversion pass was nullified by a holding call and then was no good on the retry.

The Warriors defense then came up with the play of the game when the ball was poked out of Fisher’s hands while he was being tackled. Nick Gartside made the recovery at the Havre de Grace 40.

The offense then put in the dagger when Washington threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Dayshawn Bolling with 37.4 seconds left in the third quarter.

Bolling, who says he played most of his younger years as running back, has been one of the league’s top receivers in his three years at the varsity level at Havre de Grace.

A two-point conversion pass to Monty Werts gave the Warriors a 34-14 lead.

Adding insult to injury, the Warriors used an onsides kick with James Smith making the recovery.

If nothing else, the possession allowed the Warriors to drive and use time off the clock.

Inside the Brunswick 10, Havre de Grace turned the ball over on downs at the 22 when Washington was dropped for a 16-yard sack.

Brunswick took over on what proved to be its final possession.

A couple big passes to Lawson (34 yards) and Price (19 yards) put the Railroaders at the Havre de Grace 25.

A sack of Fisher, led by Erik Thompson, slowed the momentum and two incomplete passes led to fourth-and-16 and a sack by Werts.

The ball turned back over to the Warriors, who used the final 6:23 on a drive that ended with the downing of the ball inside the Brunswick 5.

“It feels great, making it to states in my senior year, it feels great,” said Bolling after the game.

Washington finished the night 11-of-24 for 145 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, while his counterpart Fisher was 16-for-28 for 179 yards and one touchdown.

Bolling hauled in seven catches for 81 yards to lead the Warriors, while Price led Brunswick with eight grabs for 84 yards.

Stallings led the Havre de Grace defense with 10 tackles and Bond had eight. Werts had six tackles, while Gartside and Kelly had five each.




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