- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The pristine white North Point Eagles jersey that senior running back Marquel Dickerson wore on Friday night before the start of a 3A-4A division football game against the hosting Leonardtown Raiders was nothing close to that condition postgame.
In a 27-16 win, Dickerson rushed for 202 yards on 38 rush attempts, but it was an 11-play, fourth-quarter drive in which Dickerson’s jersey may have become the dirtiest and his workhorse abilities proven.
With a 20-16 lead and Leonardtown driving, a Cole Poncheri interception gave the Eagles possession with 6 minutes 50 seconds remaining in the game.
Dickerson then ran the Eagles into victory capping off the 11-play drive with a 17-yard touchdown run, giving the Eagles a 27-16 lead, after the extra point, with 1:30 left. Dickerson rushed the ball on each of the 11 plays.
“Everything is about mental toughness,” Dickerson said. “I know that I just have to keep pushing myself. If I think that I am tired, then I am going to be tired. If I don’t think that I am tired, then I am going to keep pushing.”
North Point head coach Ken Lane admitted that Dickerson was his workhorse and that he sent a special message to Dickerson and the offensive line before that 11-play drive.
“We got down there at the end and we knew that we wanted to run some clock,” Lane said. “During one of the timeouts, we got with the [offensive] line and him and said, ‘Look, we want the clock to run and the best way to do that is to run the football and we’re going to put it on your back.’ He’s a great kid and he wants the football.”
“I like to put the team on my back,” said Dickerson, who had two touchdowns in the win. “I like to feel that I am a leader out here. I am a team captain and I like to show why I should be the team captain.”
North Point (3-2, 1-0 3A-4A) had to overcome two separate second-half deficits in earning the win on Friday night.
Trailing 10-7 in the third quarter, Dickerson scored his first touchdown from three yards out to give the Eagles a 14-10 lead after the extra point.
However, Leonardtown regained the lead on the ensuing kickoff when Damien King scored from 88 yards out, putting Leonardtown up 16-14.
North Point gained a 20-16 lead when a fumble in the end zone was recovered by Marquise Watts with 8:38 left in the game and Dickerson eventually put the game away later in the quarter.
“That shows that we don’t give up easily,” Dickerson said. “We have been down multiple times before, but I am just happy that our team could come out and finish the game.”
The North Point defense intercepted three passes from Leonardtown quarterback Zach Sparshott in the win. Perrin Turner had the first interception in the second quarter, Poncheri with the second and Valiq Rogers with the third on the last play of the game.
“I really wanted this win and that interception helped my team out,” Poncheri said. “I used to be a quarterback, so I can read a quarterback and I just pursued it and I got it.”
Quarterback Brandon Battle (104 passing yards) scored the first North Point touchdown in the win with a one-yard quarterback sneak that put North Point ahead 7-0 late in the first quarter.
“These were two good teams and they’re a good football team and we knew that coming in,” Lane said.
Despite being without running back Cortez Bush, out due to injury, Leonardtown senior Brandon Dennee stepped into the role and led a Raiders rushing attack with 89 yards and a touchdown on 13 attempts.
A Dennee 20-yard touchdown run tied the game at 7 with four minutes remaining in the first half.
Senior Doug Baumann gave Leonardtown (3-2, 0-1 3A-4A) a 10-7 lead with a 31-yard field goal with 6:21 left in the third quarter and King’s kickoff return was the final score of the night for the Raiders and head coach James Klenk.
King was also a part of a Leonardtown secondary that intercepted two Battle pass attempts, Dwight Heron intercepting the other in the end zone for a touchback in the second quarter.
“I was humbled by their effort,” Klenk said of his team. “They gave everything that they had and I personally think I made some poor decisions down the line. Unfortunately, it cost us a little too much. For them to give that kind of effort, it hurts, it hurts all of us.”
Leonardtown will aim to reverse the hurt in a Saturday meeting with the hosting La Plata Warriors at 1:30 p.m.
North Point 27, Leonardtown 16
North Point 7 0 7 13
Leonardtown 0 7 9 0
NP — Battle 1 run (Wood kick), 10:13
L — Dennee 6 run (Baumann kick), 8:01
L — FG Baumann 31, 5:39
NP — Dickerson 3 run,(Wood kick), 9:27
L — King 88 kick return (run failed), 9:41
NP — Watts fumble recovery in end zone (pass failed), 3:22
NP — Dickerson 17 run (Wood kick), 10:24
North Point (17 first downs, 41-211 rushing, 104 passing, 1-0 fumbles, 2-15 penalties)
Leonardtown (12 first downs, 34-225 rushing, 29 passing, 0-0 fumbles, 11-92 penalties)
Top individual performers
Rushing — NP: Dickerson 38-202; L: Dennee 13-89, Queen 8-56, King 2-31
Passing — NP: Battle 7-18-2 104; L: Sparshott 3-9-3 29
Receiving — NP: Hodge 5-92; L: Dyson 1-15