It was a loss that felt like a win, but a loss nonetheless.
Sparrows Point quickly fell behind visiting Lansdowne 14-0 on Friday night, then dominated the last three-and-a-half quarters.
What the Pointers couldn’t do was make up their deficit on the scoreboard, allowing the Vikings to escape with a 14-13 win that extended Sparrows Point’s losing streak to 11 games.
Alex Lewis returned an interception for a touchdown with six minutes remaining in the first half to make it a one-point game.
But Lansdowne smothered the extra-point attempt to preserve its lead.
The Pointers had two opportunities to take the lead in the fourth quarter and potentially win the game.
Sparrows Point lost a fumble on second and goal from the Viking one-yard line in the opening minutes of the quarter.
With 3:30 remaining in the game, a tough 28-yard touchdown run by Isaac Cherry during which he shed several Viking defenders, was called back for a holding penalty.
It was the only penalty of the game for Sparrows Point. Lansdowne was flagged for 11 penalties.
“Just mental mistakes, that cost us the game,” Sparrows Point coach Scott Merbach said. “It happens. But the players fought hard, and hopefully they learned from it and will come out ready next week.
“Down 14-0, it could have been a blowout. But our guys dug in, fought hard for the last three-and-a-half quarters.”
On the third play of the game, Lansdowne’s Jarrell Simpkins ran a sweep to the right side and broke it for a 70-yard touchdown run.
After the Pointers went three-and-out, the Vikings again scored on a three-play drive, as Brandon Burnopp connected with Austin Sparrow on a short pass and he broke it for a 92-yard touchdown.
“Blown assignments,” Merbach said. “We had new starters in different positions, and they were caught out of position.”
Lansdowne had 177 yards of total offense and two touchdowns after its first six plays. The Pointer defense shut out the Vikings the rest of the game, holding them to 107 yards of offense.
On its second possession, the Pointers drove 80 yards in 12 plays to cut Lansdowne’s lead to 14-7.
Cherry gained one yard on third and one from the Lansdowne 48, and Tyler Allnutt picked up two yards on third and one from the Viking 38.
After an 11-yard completion to Daniel Price from Kaleb Morton and a 12-yard run by Cherry, Allnutt scored on a 13-yard run.
On a counter play, Allnutt shed tackles at the line of scrimmage and then powered through three Viking defenders inside the five-yard line.
The Pointers took over at midfield after forcing the Vikings to punt and drove to a first down at the Lansdowne nine-yard line.
A 20-yard pass from Morton to Price sparked the drive.
Three running plays moved the ball to the one-yard line, but a bobbled handoff on fourth down led to an 11-yard loss.
The missed opportunity didn’t hurt the Pointers, as Lewis intercepted a shovel pass from Burnopp and returned it for a touchdown two plays later.
Burnopp tried to get rid of the ball while he was being tackled, and it was plucked out of the air by Lewis, who was about three yards away and returned two yards or a touchdown.
A low snap on the extra-point attempt contributed to Lansdowne blocking the kick.
A 21-yard completion from Morton to Allnutt on third and 10, on which Allnutt made an over-the-shoulder catch on the sideline, moved Sparrows Point to the Viking 28.
After Cherry’s touchdown run was called back, the Pointers were in field goal range of kick Ryan Merbach. But a five-yard loss on third down pushed the Pointers beyond Ryan’s range (45 yards), and a fourth-down pass fell incomplete with 2:03 remaining in the game.
A 14-yard run by Simpkins enabled Lansdowne to run out the clock.
Sparrows Point plays at Overlea on Friday. The Falcons defeated host Chesapeake 44-6 on Saturday.
Dundalk and Patapsco both won their openers on the road.
Treshawn Ray threw for two touchdowns and ran for two touchdowns as the Owls defeated Century 34-10.
Dundalk hosts Concordia Prep (2-0) on Friday at 6 p.m. The Saints defeated St. Paul’s 35-14 last week.
The Patriots defeated Western Tech 44-6. Patapsco plays at Lansdowne on Friday.