GLASGOW – They say defense wins championships.
It certainly won a championship for Glasgow on Friday night.
The Dragons’ defense held the fort until the offense got in gear late as Glasgow overcame four turnovers and downed St. Georges 22-7 to earn the Blue Hen Flight B title.
Glasgow (10-0, 7-0), ranked second statewide in Division II, is expected to be one of the top two seeds along with undefeated Woodbridge when the D-II playoff pairings are determined Sunday.
“Our defense was definitely the strength tonight,” Dragons coach Shannon Riley said. “Offense made some plays down the line, but defense was the MVP tonight.”
The defense was put to the test immediately, as Glasgow fumbled on its third play from scrimmage. Craig Congo recovered for the third-ranked Hawks (8-2, 6-1) at the Dragons 39.
But St. Georges couldn’t move, gaining only 1 yard in three plays before punting. Glasgow fumbled a snap on the next play, and Daivyne Bailey recovered for the Hawks at the Dragons 27.
St. Georges converted a fourth-and-7 on a defensive holding call, but got pushed back by an illegal motion penalty. Glasgow held Jalen Smith to a 9-yard reception on fourth-and-12 to take over at its own 7.
“We had to carry the game,” Dragons linebacker Tymere Wilson said. “If the offense couldn’t get going, we had to stop them.”
Special teams set up Glasgow’s first score, as Tyrique Woodland returned a punt 36 yards to the 12. Woodland punched it in from the 1 four plays later, but the PAT was blocked to leave the Dragons with a 6-0 lead with 4:09 left in the first half.
A couple of penalties aided a St. Georges drive before the Dragons’ defense rose to the occasion again, with Reginald Grinnell intercepting a pass in the end zone on the next-to-last play of the half.
The Hawks finally got rolling on their first possession of the second half, chewing up 85 yards in 12 plays. Brian Benson scored from the 7, and Mason Fitzgerald’s extra point pushed St. Georges ahead 7-6.
The Glasgow offense had an answer, putting together a 10-play, 76-yard drive. Isaiah Wilson V completed 3 of 4 passes on the march, and Tavion Jones-Hill scored on an 8-yard option play. Woodland ran in the two-point conversion to give the Dragons a 14-7 lead with 1:51 remaining in the third quarter.
Bailey intercepted a pass for the Hawks and returned it to the Dragons 48, only to see the Glasgow D force another punt. St. Georges’ Brian Rush fell on the Dragons’ third fumble of the night two plays later, but Glasgow forced the Hawks to turn it over on downs.
Then Jeremiah Carter delivered the block that put it away, springing Jones-Hill through a hole on the left side for a 43-yard touchdown run with 5:13 to play. Woodland’s two-pointer pushed the lead to 22-7.
“I just followed his block, and then after that I just took off,” Jones-Hill said of Carter. “There were some great blocks by the receivers, too.”
The defense had to make one more stand, after a 35-yard pass from Robert Shorts to Jordan Cheaton sent the Hawks to the Dragons 11. Dasan Henderson and Nathan Hovis nailed Benson for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-1 from the 2.
“The defense has been playing well all year,” Riley said. “We were holding teams to five points a game. A lot of people say it’s because we aren’t playing anybody, but I know we have a strong defense that can step up at any moment.”
Glasgow ran the final 1:50 off the clock, then hoisted the Flight B trophy.
“It’s crazy,” said Wilson, a junior. “From freshman year, I just stayed at the school, just knew we could do it, and now we’re here. It’s amazing.”
Contact Brad Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ.