Earlier in the week, New Oxford High football coach Jason Thurston had said what a great accomplishment it would be if his Colonials could achieve their fourth win of the season against the Dover Eagles Friday night.
Coming off a two-win season last year, it would mean the Colonials would have doubled their win total in what was thought to be a rebuilding year.
The Colonials got that fourth win Friday night, but it wasn't easy.
They had to rally after blowing a 14-point halftime lead to score with 37 seconds on the clock for a come-from-behind 22-15 win over the Eagles at New Oxford High School.
"I told the kids this week that they were going to have to learn to play in a tight game," Thurston said. "When we went up 14-0, I thought, 'Well, maybe it won't be so tight'. Overall, I'm proud of the way we played. We shot ourselves in the foot a few times, but we were able to prevail."
Dover also shot itself in the foot a few times as it turned the ball over four times in the game. The first came on its first possession when it had driven to the New Oxford 28-yard line. Quarterback Jordan Wynegar put the ball on the ground and New Oxford's Wes Beans came up with it.
Ten plays later, Colonial quarterback Anthony Lippy found wide receiver Aaron Brown in the end zone from 8 yards out for the touchdown. Lippy lofted the ball high and Brown simply outjumped the defender for the score. Trey Parrish added the extra point for a 7-0 Colonial lead with 2:51 remaining in the first quarter.
Another Dover fumble, this time is the second quarter, led to New Oxford's second score.
After moving to the New Oxford 32-yard line, Dover gave up the ball on its second fumble. New Oxford again made the Eagles pay as it went 68 yards in nine plays for the score. Beans got a big chunk of the yardage when he broke loose for a 43-yard run. Beans also got the score on a 1-yard run that made it 14-0 after Parrish's kick.
The Eagles needed to make something happen to get back in the game and they did right after halftime.
On their first play of the second half, they ran what looked like a sweep to the right, only to have halfback Logan Ambrose pull up and pass to a wide open Jacky Chen. Chen easily outran the Colonial secondary for a 71-yard touchdown completion. Dover missed the extra point to trail 14-6 with 11:41 on the third-quarter clock.
After forcing Dover to go three and out, the Colonials set up at the New Oxford 30-yard line. Chen's 35-yard punt return gave the Eagles the great field position.
Ambrose capped a five-play drive with a 5-yard run to draw the Eagles within two at 14-12. It stayed that way as the Colonials were able to knock down a two-point conversion attempt.
A short punt by the Colonials and a 21-yard return by Chen set the Eagles up for the go-ahead score late in the third period. Dover gained possession at the New Oxford 35-yard line and was able to move to the Colonials' 3-yard line. New Oxford stopped Ambrose for a 2-yard gain on third- and-five to force the Eagles to kick a field goal.
Jonathan Taylor was good from 20 yards out to give the Eagles their first lead at 15-14 with 3:13 left in the third period.
The Colonials looked like they were moving for the winning score when they drove 80 yards in 11 plays to the Dover 2-yard line. Disdaining a go-ahead field goal with four minutes remaining in the game, the Colonials went for a touchdown, only to have Beans stopped at the 1-yard line.
After holding the Eagles on downs, the Colonials took over again at the Dover 34 with 1:21 on the clock. Two incomplete passes and a 3-yard run by fullback Nick Slusser left the Colonials with a fourth-and-7 at the 31-yard line with 37.5 seconds remaining. Lippy faked the waggle to the right and passes back to the left to Beans, who outran the Dover defense to the end zone for the winning score.
"In that situation, you have to expect that they will fly to the waggle," Thurston said. "I thought it would be a good time to pass the ball back to the other side and, of course, Wes made the play."
Despite the loss, Dover's Bill Miller was proud of his team's comeback.
"If we had played a complete game like we played the third quarter, I'm sure the outcome would have been different," Miller said. "We're a young team, and that's the kind of mistakes we have been making. On the other hand, this is week nine and we shouldn't be making them."
Dover 0 0 15 0 -- 15
New Oxford 7 7 0 8 -- 22
NO -- Aaron Brown 8 pass from Anthony Lippy (Trey Parrish kick), 2:51
NO -- Wesley Beans 1 run (Parrish kick), 4:02
Do -- Jacky Chen 47 pass from Logan Ambrose (kick failed), 11:41
Do -- Ambrose 5 run (pass failed), 8:46
Do -- Jonathan Taylor 20 FG, 3:13
NO -- Beans 31 pass from Lippy (Beans run), 0:37.
-- Do -- NO
First downs -- 11 -- 14
Rushes-yards -- 36-153 -- 38-177
Passing -- 6-15-0 -- 7-21-1
Passing yards -- 166 -- 122
Total yards -- 319 -- 299
Punts -- 3-23.3 -- 4-28.5
Fumbles-lost -- 3-3 -- 2-1
Penalties-yards -- 7-55 -- 3-15
Rushing -- Dover, Dylan Ehrlinger 6-61, Ambrose 11-41, Dalton Heim 7-27, Malec Snyder 3-13, Shaheed Mitchell 1-6, Derrick Wagaman 1-4, Tim Green 1-1, Jonathan Wynegar 2-(-23); New Oxford, Beans 15-72, Nick Slusser 16-70, Matt Staub 2-23, Keegan Romanoff 1-10, Lippy 3-5, Jake Massicot 1-(-3).
Passing -- Dover, Wynegar 4-11-0-68, Snyder 1-3-0-27, Ambrose 1-1-0-71; New Oxford, Lippy 7-21-1-122.
Receiving -- Dover, Chen 4-138, Curtis Harman 1-22, Ehrlinger 1-6; New Oxford, Beans 2-45, Brown 2-40, Slusser 2-28, Matt Staub 1-9.