HEMINGWAY — At Carvers Bay, the defense can be as much of a threat as the offense at times, and it was the defensive unit that provided the deciding points Friday night.
Junior linebacker Oneil Johnson’s 15-yard fumble return for a touchdown with 5 minutes remaining was the game-winning touchdown as the Bears knocked off larger county rival Georgetown 20-14.
Devin Cuttino hit Georgetown quarterback Caleb Hughes as he was attempting to throw after scrambling to his right, and Johnson picked up the ball and ran 15 yards to complete the Bears’ comeback from 14-6 deficit in the fourth quarter.
A bad snap in the shotgun formation forced Hughes to roll out. Cuttino converted the two-point conversion with a run to give the Bears a six-point lead, and an interception by Shaquand Durrand with 2 minutes remaining secured the victory.
“On defense we said we have to get in the backfield and have penetration and have good coverage,” Cuttino said. “Our defense did the job and [players] did what they were supposed to do. Everybody played a part. If you get good turnovers and score on defense you always win the ballgame.”
Georgetown had two possessions following the score, but turned the ball over on downs when DaQuan Wilson broke up a pass over the middle at the Bears’ 20 on fourth down with 4 minutes remaining, and threw the late interception.
Georgetown reached the Bears’ 15-yard line on its final drive, but Durrand came down with a ball that batted in the air off the hands of both Durrand and receiver Tarik Tucker.
“It’s a very difficult loss,” said Georgetown coach Bradley Adams, whose Class AAA team fell to 2-2 and had a two-game winning streak snapped. “The young men played hard. In football these things happen. It’s an upset. We just made too many mistakes tonight: the kids, the coaches did, we all made mistakes. … We made too many mistakes and couldn’t execute when it was time to execute in all phases of the game.”
Cuttino opened the scoring in the first quarter by taking a handoff around right end and racing 23 yards untouched for a touchdown. Tarik Tucker blocked the extra-point attempt.
Georgetown senior Juwan Gibbs responded with a pair of short touchdown runs to give the Bulldogs a 14-6 halftime lead.
He scored on a 1-yard run late in the first quarter to cap a drive that included a long pass from Hughes to Tucker and several effective runs by Julian Lunsford.
Gibbs scored on a 2-yard run with less than 2 minutes remaining in the first half to convert a Carvers Bay turnover on a bad snap in shotgun formation at its own 30.
Carvers Bay got a break late in the third quarter when Georgetown muffed a punt and Chris Carter recovered the loose ball at the Georgetown 20.
Though the Bears couldn’t convert the field position into points, they took over on the Georgetown 39 shortly thereafter following just a 15-yard punt. That drive ended in a 14-yard touchdown reception by Durrand on a fourth-and-two. Georgetown cornerback DaeQuan Gibson got a hand on DaShaun Aiken’s pass in single coverage but Durrand caught the tipped ball behind him.
“In the fourth quarter we started moving the ball,” said Bears coach Nate Thompson, whose Class A team improved to 3-1. “We realized we had to pass it because they were crowding the line of scrimmage. They were daring us to throw it so we had to line up and try to throw it and we were pretty successful near the end and it opened up a lot of things for us.”
Aiken finished 6 of 19 for 77 yards, and Cuttino 104 yards on 14 carries. Hughes as 11 of 25 for 119 yards for Georgetown, while Julian Lunsford and Hughes each gained more than 50 yards rushing. Georgetown had three turnovers to the Bears’ one.
“We knew what we had to do was not make a lot of mistakes,” Thompson said. “The team that made the fewest mistakes was going to win tonight. It wasn’t like we overpowered them or had great plays all the time. We just made fewer mistakes.”
The Bears avenged a 42-18 beating at Georgetown last year, as the rivalry between the Georgetown County schools continues to evolve after the Bears controlled it for the better part of a decade.
“They’ve got a good football program,” Thompson said. “They’re good, their fast, they have a good back, they have a good quarterback. . . . It’s a good healthy rivalry. People show up and we had a good time tonight, and it was a good game.”
CB-Devin Cuttino 23 run (kick blocked), 4:28
G-Juwan Gibbs 1 run (Josh Huneault kick), :06
G-Gibbs 2 run (Huneault kick), 1:52
CB-Shaquan Durand 14 pass from Da’Shaun Aiken (pass failed), 11:54
CB-Johnson O’Neil 11 fumble return (Cuttino run), 5:10
RUSHING—Georgetown: Julian Lunsford 19-45; Caleb Hughes 10-38; Michael Billings 3-7; Huneault 1-3; Gibbs 2-3; Gamble 1-2. Carvers Bay: Cuttino 14-104; Aiken 16-(-8); Davis 7-17.
PASSING—Georgetown: Hughes 11-25-1, 0, 119. Carvers Bay: Aiken 6-19-0, 1, 77.
RECEIVING—Georgetown: Tarik Tucker 3-69; Alvin Walker 3-23; Chris Gamble 1-11; Lunsford 1-11; Daquan Gibson 1-7; Zaquan Collins 1-5; Hughes 1-(-7). Carvers Bay: S. Durand 1-14; Shayton Durand 4-59; Desmond Sumpter 1-4.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.