STEVENSVILLE , Md. — With a spot in the 2A State Semifinals on the line, the Huntingtown Hurricanes (9-2) got their revenge over the Kent Island Buccaneers (9-3) with a 35-21, victory on the road on Friday night. The game was a rematch of last year’s 2A Quarterfinals, which saw Kent Island victorious en route to becoming the state runner-up.
Revenge was on the mind for the Canes who were looking secure a spot in the semifinals for the first time since 2021, but for the fourth time in the last five seasons. But they knew it wouldn’t be easy, facing a tough Kent Island team who had just pulled an upset of their own last round, defeating 2A East foe, North Caroline.
After holding the Bucs down to start the game, Huntingtown put together a successful opening drive, which culminated in a touchdown pass from quarterback Evan Kuntz to wide receiver Roger Jones Jr. (you may hear this connection again). The extra point gave the Canes a 7-0 lead.
But on their ensuing possession, Kent Island would quickly answer back only a few minutes later. The Bucs drive ended with a 1-yard Jaxson Hess rushing touchdown, and the game was tied 7-7.
As play progressed into the second quarter, a Kuntz pass was picked off by Kent Island’s Tucker Claxton, who returned the ball deep into Canes territory. The turnover and subsequent return setup a 5-yard score on the legs of running back Shane Bogardus, which would give the Bucs their first lead of the evening, 14-7.
On its next possession, Huntingtown found itself facing a bit more adversity, as a pass from Kuntz was once again intercerpted by Jaxson Hess. But, several plays later, Bucs quarterback Gavan Henry would throw a pick of his own. This one fell into the hands of Hurricanes linebacker Trey O’Callaghan, and would flip the momentum right back towards the Canes.
That interception would setup the second connection of the night between Kuntz and Jones Jr., who made a great catch and was able to drag his feet in the corner of the end zone and tie the score once more at 14-14.
Kent Island would get one more shot at scoring right before the half but a Hail Mary attempt from Henry fell into the arms of Jones Jr. on defense, and the score would remain deadlocked at the break.
To start the second half, Huntingtown received the kickoff and would put together a scoring drive that would put them up for good. Once more, Kuntz found Jones Jr. – this time across the middle for 30 yards, and Jones Jr. weaved through defenders on his way to the end zone. The Canes would never look back after taking a 21-14 lead.
The third quarter would see a Kent Island punt blocked, which gave Huntingtown great field position, but, after a penalty, a bad snap was fumbled by Kuntz and the Bucs took the ball back. And after another Kent Island punt was executed successfully, Kuntz would once more lead the Hurricanes on a scoring drive. This time, he’d do it himself, and eventually ran the ball in from 3 yards out to give his team a 28-14 lead.
In the final quarter of play, Huntingtown spent much of their time trying to bleed the clock, and would eventually score for a fifth time on the night. Miles Platter took the direct snap across the goal line from about 10 yards out to extend the Canes lead to 35-14.
Just as the game seemed to be over, for all intents and purposes, Kent Island showed that they were not yet ready to go down without a fight. Henry found Claxton down the sideline, and after some broken tackles, the Bucs would find the scoreboard once more, cutting their deficit to 35-21.
But after recovering an onside kick, making a stand on defense, and securing a final first down on offense, Huntingtown was able to run the clock out on an impressive 35-21 playoff road victory.
Huntingtown advances to the State Semifinals round next weekend, where it will host a Walkersville (7-5) team fresh off of an upset of top-seeded and previously undefeated Owings Mills. Kent Island sees its season come to close after reaching at least the quarterfinal round for the third year in a row.