BEL AIR – The Cambridge-South Dorchester Vikings’ football season came to an end Friday at Harford Technical High School, 27-17. The 1A Vikings were playing in the second round of the 1A-2A East Regional playoffs, having beating Parkside the previous week.
The top-seeded, 2A Harford Tech Cobras had a bye in the first round, and arrived in the playoffs with a 7-1 record.
The game got off to a rough start for the 1A Vikings, who came into the contest at 4-4, with a sack of quarterback Talan Middleton on the first play from scrimmage, followed by a blocked punt. An 11-yard touchdown run by the Cobra’s Kelvin Mendez at the 9:57 mark of the first quarter put the first points on the board.
The Vikings answered with a successful drive of their own, ending with a 27-yard James Frazier field goal for a 7-3 score with 4:59 left in the opening period.
A missed Cobra field goal in the second quarter was as close as either team came to scoring again in the first half. That meant C-SD went to the locker room at the break only 4 points down to a team that many considered to be a powerhouse, and one that had the potential to dominate the Vikings.
The second half started with a big break for Cambridge-South Dorchester, when the kickoff was fumbled by a Cobra, and recovered by the Vikings’ Dario Belizaire at the Cobra’s 25-yard line. Belizaire wasn’t done on that drive – he ran it to the 4-yard line on the next play.
Tayon Fletcher scored on the following play, running from the 4, to give the Vikings the lead with 11:42 to go in the third quarter. Frazier’s kick was good, bringing the tally to 10-7.
C-SD’s defense kept the Cobra’s attack under control, as the Viking offense’s running game ground out the tough yards. That attack paid off with 11 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, when Dario Belizaire ran through a big hole created by the offensive line, for a 22-yard TD and a 17-7 lead.
Harford responded with a straight-ahead running game that ended with Kelvin Mendez’s second score of the game. After a good extra point, it was 17-14 with 5:45 left to play.
A bobbled kickoff led to a Cobra recovery and possession at C-SD’s 40-yard line. That was bad news for the Vikings, as it gave Kelvin Mendez a chance to take another trip into the end zone.
He did, a couple of minutes later, and the scoreboard said 20-17. The Vikes blocked the extra point, to keep it a 3-point game with just over 5 minutes remaining.
C-SD turned over the ball on downs after a failed fourth-down attempt at their own 13-yard line. The Cobras scored quickly, with a throw to Travis Wall that just about spelled the end of the Vikings’ season, and gave the home team a 27-17 lead.
That was three Cobra touchdowns in the final six minutes of the game.
C-SD’s sophomore quarterback Blake Labelle came into the game with about three minutes left, for the first time since the fourth week of the campaign. Two completed passes to Belizaire brought the ball to the Cobras’ 1-yard line.
A quarterback keeper was down inches from the goal on first down. Second down, same thing, but with a loss of yardage. Then an incomplete pass, and it was fourth down and a field goal attempt.
The kick was low, and blocked. There were 56 seconds left in the game, and the Vikings’ season.