Townsend revives his 2nd program
Coach who rebuilt Douglass has Reginald Lewis unbeaten for 1st time
When Elwood Townsend took over the Douglass football program, it took him just two years to revive the Ducks and get them into the regional playoffs for the first time in school history. Three years after that, the Ducks were playing in the state final.
Now the coach at Reginald Lewis, Townsend needed just one year to revive the Falcons, who completed the first undefeated regular season in school history. They’re one of just three undefeated teams in the Baltimore area; the others are Old Mill and Hereford.
The Baltimore City Division II champions are the top seed in the Class 3A South region and hope to win the first playoff game in school history Saturday when they take on FAET at Poly at 4 p.m.
Not only have the Falcons gone from a 4-6 team last season to 10-0 this fall, they have the stingiest defense in the Baltimore area. They’ve allowed just 24 points and shut out seven opponents.
Senior defensive linemen Dominic Diggs and George Phillips have been leading the way along with junior linebacker Martise Chambers, a transfer from Douglass, and junior defensive back Malik Green, who Townsend said is a big-play catalyst.
The coach said much of the defense had been playing together, but it took a little time to find the right combinations.
Offensively, the Falcons have benefited from having senior quarterback Dariun Miller, who led the Ducks to their second state final in 2014.
“He’s been with me since he was in 10th grade,” said Townsend, “and he’s grown every year.”
For Townsend, the Baltimore Sun Coach of the Year at Douglass in 2012, the biggest challenge was changing the culture at Lewis, where the Falcons hadn’t won more than four games in a season since they went 9-2 in 2012.
“We just had to instill a whole bunch of discipline,” Townsend said. “Guys were missing practice, but when they saw they weren’t going to play on game day, they kind of changed their tune.”
Townsend is looking forward to Saturday’s rematch against FAET and coach Dominic Howard, his former defensive coordinator at Douglass who was responsible for the Ducks defense that allowed just 40 points in the 2013 regular season.
The Lewis coach said he had to disguise some things in the first meeting because Howard knew his system.
“He’ll probably come out with some tricks up his sleeve,” Townsend said with a laugh. “It should be a good game. The kids know each other. I think that’s the intriguing thing about it. They kind of hang in the same neighborhood with each other, similar to the thing we had when Douglass played Edmondson those two years. It makes the game a little bit more interesting.” Townsend Playoff “destiny” not in Parkville’s hands: When Parkville coach Justin Payne met with his players Monday morning, everyone was disappointed — not just because the Knights missed the regional playoffs by a slim margin, but because they felt they might have made it had they not lost an early-season game in Baltimore County’s air-conditioning controversy.
The Knights did not play Lansdowne after county officials closed schools that lacked air conditioning during a heat wave leading up to the second weekend of the season. Parkville has air conditioning, but Lansdowne does not.
This season, the No. 13 Knights finished 7-2, their best season in a decade, and had hoped to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Instead, they missed the fourth and final spot in the Class 4A North region by two one-hundredths of a point.
“It’s very difficult to get to the playoffs in football,” Payne said. “It’s not like other sports where everybody goes. Sometimes it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and when you get that close to the cusp and you’re kind of let down and part of the reason may be you weren’t afforded the same opportunity that other teams in the state were, then that leaves a sour taste in your mouth.”
The teams that advanced in Class 4ANorth — Sherwood, Howard, Bel Air and Mervo — played 10-game schedules.
“I don’t want to make excuses,” Payne said. “I told the kids [Monday] morning we had an opportunity to beat Dundalk and Milford Mill and we didn’t. But they have nothing to be ashamed of. We went from not winning a game two years ago to being on the cusp of being in the playoffs, and to being ranked No. 13 in the area.” By the numbers: Here are some of the stats that stood out from Week10, the final week of the regular season for public school teams:
5: Straight wins for City over Poly, the Knights’ longest winning streak in the 128-year-old rivalry in 50 years
6-0: Record in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference for outright champion St. Frances, which was 0-6 last season
10: Sacks by Franklin in the Indians’ 33-7 win over Dundalk
15: Points scored by Old Mill in the final13:07 to rally from 14 points down against Annapolis
317: Yards rushing by Francis Scott Key’s Nate Imes, who scored four touchdowns in a 26-21 win over Winters Mill — the Eagles’ only win of the season