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  • Northeast's Ian McCullers received congratulations from teammates after a second-half interception against Severna Park. The Eagles defeated the Falcons 26-21 on October 20, the first Eagle football victory over Severna Park since 1967.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    Northeast's Ian McCullers received congratulations from teammates after a second-half interception against Severna Park. The Eagles defeated the Falcons 26-21 on October 20, the first Eagle football victory over Severna Park since 1967.

Northeast Football Defeats Severna Park, 26-21

Colin Murphy
View Bio
November 2, 2017

Going on two years, the Northeast football program has repeated its mantra: “Trust in the process.”

On October 20, the process yielded a result not experienced in a long time.

Three touchdowns by Demontay Snowden and a last-second field goal by Matt Wilhelm allowed the Eagles to defeat Severna Park 26-21, a rare victory for the Eagles in a matchup that hasn’t occurred every season over the years—and hasn’t resulted in a slew of Eagle wins.

Northeast coach Brian Baublitz said the victory is representative of the progress the Eagles have made.

“It’s just another stepping stone in our program. Beating Severna Park is big,” he said. Baublitz remarked that the Eagles visualized an exact plan they have implemented to produce the results they’ve seen this year, including victories over Severna Park and North County. “What we did at the beginning of last year was we separated the teams in the county into three divisions. We were in the bottom. Our goal was, you can’t get to the upper echelon until you get to the middle. We are taking care of that now. We’re competing. Maybe not beating all the middle-tier teams, but we’re competing with them. So, in the second year, we’re right where we thought we’d be. These kids don’t give up. They play 48 minutes. When you play Northeast football, you might beat us, but you’re going to have to play for 48 minutes to do it, and that’s all we can ask of them.”

Fresh off a trouncing of Southern a week prior, the Eagles had a statement victory in mind against the Falcons. Like many football outcomes in Anne Arundel County this season, play was neck-and-neck throughout, and the game went right down to the wire.

Snowden opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run that capped a 90-yard Northeast drive. Wilhelm made the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

PHOTO GALLERY: Northeast football vs. Severna Park, 10.20.17

Severna Park’s dynamic Josh Coffman, who played quarterback, running back, receiver and returner in the game, hit Dean Draughn for a long passing gain before running in a tying touchdown off a direct snap to make it 7-7.

Snowden exploded through a gaping hole opened up by his offensive line of Dalton Milliken, Matt Wukitch, Brandon Choinski, Aiden Barnhardt and Grayson Beikert to gain 75 yards on a second-quarter touchdown run to make it 14-7 after Wilhelm’s point-after.

“My offensive line, they push me every game and every practice to keep running hard, I believe in them to give me the blocks and give me the hole, and the results show,” said Snowden, who had five touchdowns in the previous win over Southern.

Coffman hit Draughn for a touchdown to make it 14-14 after halftime. On Severna Park’s next possession, Noah Brown caused and recovered a fumble to get Northeast the ball back and set up another Snowden touchdown to make it 21-14:

Severna Park was able to equalize late after Jordan Hallet hit Jack Thomas with a long pass, setting up a Coffman touchdown run. With 2:58 to play, the game was tied 21-21.

After a Northeast fumble, Severna Park kicker John Compere had a chance to win it with a 37-yard field goal with 38 second left, but his attempt was wide right. The Eagles took over, and Davon Carroll burst up the middle for a 63-yard gain all the way down to the 1-yard line with 6 seconds left.

Wilhelm came out to kick a would-be game winner, which was nothing out of the ordinary, except for mind-blowing fact that he was playing his first-ever game of organized football.

“I went out for the soccer team and wasn’t getting much playing time,” said Wilhelm, a senior. “I quit the soccer team, and a week later, a friend on the football team came to me and was like, ‘We need a kicker.’ So I gave it a shot. I took my first practice kick three or four weeks ago. …I don’t even know what to say. It was [a] pretty close [kick], but I was still nervous.”

After Severna Park used two timeouts in attempt to ice Wilhelm, he calmly stepped up and booted his 16-yard attempt squarely through the uprights:

“I was ecstatic I made it,” he said.

With one second remaining, the Eagles kicked off, and after several lateral attempts by Severna Park, the Eagles slapped the ball out of the back of the end zone to record a safety on the play and win, 26-21.

Snowden finished with 139 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns. Carroll ran for 118 yards on eight carries. Freshman quarterback Riley Pitt carried 14 times for 57 yards, while Marcus Streeb and Kenny Miller also had runs for gains.

Jarren Terry led the Eagles with eight tackles. Ian McCullers had four tackles and an interception, and Carroll had three tackles and an interception. Steve Haley and Bennett Diaz each had four tackles. Tyler Czyz and Anthony Vallinotti had three tackles each. Brown, Aiden Barnhart, Snowden, Jayden Mason, Jan Michael Finch, Matt Doyle, Brandon Choinski and Jeffrey Stinchcomb all contributed tackles.

Players and coaches both spoke of the ongoing inspiration they draw from late coach Rick Potter, who passed away unexpectedly this past summer.

“We know that he’s looking over top of us,” said Baublitz, adding with a laugh, “He doesn’t let us win by more than three or four points. He likes to put us through mystery before he gives us the win.”

Choinski said the ongoing upswing of the program has had its trials, but the Eagles are forging ahead.

“It’s been a great transformation,” he said. “You are always going to have a bumpy road, but we just keep going.”

Baublitz, whose Eagles (4-5) have a chance to clinch a playoff spot with a ‘Dena Bowl victory on November 3 combined with a loss by Long Reach, said the team is enjoying the ride.

“I’m overwhelmed with emotion for these kids,” he said. “They haven’t had their share of success, but they’re having it now, and I’m so excited for them.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Northeast football vs. Severna Park, 10.20.17

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