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PB Colts topple Grafton; Two late touchdowns carry Philip Barbour to 22-21 triumph

by Mike Nutter


(September 12, 1998) GRAFTON -- Down 21-6 with less than 7 minutes to play, Philip Barbour coach Mike Hicks' message to his squad was pretty simple.

"I didn't have to tell them anything," he said. "There's not an ounce of quit in any of these kids, and no words were needed to get them too fired up."

Hicks' strategy worked as the actions of Colts quarterback Eddie Flowers roared louder than any sideline bluster.

Flowers tossed a pair of touchdowns and two PATs to lead the Colts to a 22-21 comeback win.

"I'm so proud of these kids," Hicks said. "Eddie is really starting to become a good quarterback and tonight was a total team effort. I couldn't have asked any more from any of them."

Flowers shredded the inexperienced Bearcat secondary all evening. He finished 26 of 40 for 267 yards and two scores.

"I'm not making excuses for a young team," said Grafton coach Mike Skinner. "We had one we should have won, but we didn't make the plays when we had to.

"That all comes down to confidence, and the more we don't make the plays, the harder it is to gain any confidence."

Trailing 14-6 with 6:45 remaining, the Colts marched all the way down to the Bearcat 8. On third-and-goal, Flowers dropped back and was picked off by Mike Snider, who returned the interception 97 yards for a score. Chad Royce's PAT gave Grafton a 21-6 lead and what appeared to be the Bearcats first win of the year.

On Philip Barbour's next possession, however, Flowers hit Charnoplosky on a 35-yard TD strike and then converted the 2-point conversion with a pass to Pat Bennett to narrow the gap to 21-14 with 5:05 left.

On the ensuing kickoff, Mark Harris recovered the on-sides kick, but the Colts turned the ball over with under 4 minutes left.

Looking to run some time off of the clock, the Bearcats also fumbled, giving Philip Barbour on last chance. Flowers responded.

Facing a third-and-16 from the Grafton 24, Flowers hit a streaking Joe Newman down the left sideline, and then connected with Charnoplosky for the PAT with 2:06 left for what proved to be the winning score.

"Hopefully this is the game that can get us going," Hicks said. "We've got a big game next week, and we're still taking them one at a time, but tonight these kids just wouldn't be denied."

Philip Barbour (2-1) plays at Herbert Hoover next week, while Grafton (0-3) hosts R.C. Byrd.