Mervo rides its mo­men­tum to a his­toric up­set

Win over Sher­wood team’s 1st play­off vic­tory; Glenelg’s Owens sets rush­ing record

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Kather­ine Dunn kather­ine.dunn@balt­ twit­ Baltimore Sun Me­dia Group re­porter Tim Schwartz con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle.

Sev­eral Baltimore-area teams pulled off up­sets in the re­gional foot­ball semi­fi­nals Fri­day, but none was big­ger than Mervo’s 30-20 vic­tory over Sher­wood — the first play­off win in the his­tory of the pro­gram.

Mervo had slipped into the fourth-seeded spot in Class 4A North by two one­hun­dredths of a point. Sher­wood was un­de­feated and seeded No. 1 with a big-play of­fense that had outscored op­po­nents by 30 points per game.

Still, the Mus­tangs had mo­men­tum go­ing into the game. They won their last seven reg­u­lar-sea­son games and took the Baltimore County Divi­sion I ti­tle for the third straight year. They turned their sea­son around after fall­ing to Ed­mond­son, 14-13, in Week 3.

“I’m just re­ally so proud of the kids,” Mervo coach Pa­trick Nixon said. “We re­ally thought we could win the game. Some­thing changed when we lost to Ed­mond­son. It’s a young group and the ma­jor­ity of this group showed through. I’m so proud of how they re­sponded to the coach­ing and we’re a to­tally dif­fer­ent team.

“Go­ing into this game no one ex­pected us to win, to be hon­est, and so we’re just proud that the kids did the job that we asked them to do and I’m happy that they got the re­ward at the end.”

The War­riors had been ranked No. 7 by The Wash­ing­ton Post, but Nixon said his team dom­i­nated the line of scrim­mage on both sides of the ball.

They started off slowly with a se­ries of penal­ties on the first drive that helped Sher­wood score on a pass play, but Mus­tangs quar­ter­back Car­los Davis an­swered with a 25-yard touch­down pass to Terry Jones. Rykim Lemon made it 14-7 at the half with a 15-yard touch­down run.

The Mus­tangs never trailed after that, with Ar­marni Ad­di­son scor­ing what turned out to be the game-win­ning touch­down on an 80-yard kick­off re­turn to start the sec­ond half. A 2-point con­ver­sion gave Mervo a 22-7 Glenelg run­ning back Wande Owens eludes Howard de­fender Ryan Kear­ney for a first down Oct. 28. Owens broke the Howard County sin­gle-sea­son rush­ing record Fri­day. lead.

The War­riors had scored 201 more points than Mer­vothis sea­son, but a de­fen­sive ef­fort led by line­backer Dwayne Mclau­rin held them to their low­est out­put of the sea­son.

The Mus­tangs (9-2) ad­vance to meet Howard (10-1) in a re­match of last sea­son’s re­gion semi­fi­nal, won, 20-0, by the Lions. Kick­off is Fri­day at 7 p.m. at Howard. Stingy and proud of it: Regi­nald Lewis has al­lowed an av­er­age of just 2.2 points per game this sea­son — a to­tal of 24. It hasn’t given up more than 12 points in a game, and Satur­day’s 24-0 win over FAET in the Class 1A South re­gion semi­fi­nal was its eighth shutout.

That has been one of the key com­po­nents of the Fal­cons’ ex­tend­ing their record to 11-0 with the first play­off win in school his­tory. They also won Baltimore County’s Divi­sion II ti­tle.

The Fal­cons are re­build­ing un­der new coach El­wood Townsend, who turned Dou­glass into a two-time state fi­nal­ist be­fore mov­ing to Lewis this fall. They led just 6-0 at the half Satur­day against the Griz­zlies, a first-time state fi­nal­ist last sea­son, but quar­ter­back Dar­iun Miller, who played in the state fi­nal while at Dou­glass, hit Ant­wain Part­low with a 50-yard touch­down pass mid­way through the third quar­ter to spark the Fal­cons to a re­gion fi­nal match with Ed­mond­son on Fri­day at 6 p.m. at Poly. Young and hun­gry: Glenelg sopho­more run­ning back Wande Owens be­came the sec­ond Glad­i­a­tor in two years to break the Howard County sin­gle-sea­son rush­ing record when he ran for 274 yards in Fri­day night’s Class 3A East play­off vic­tory.

His 2,229 yards on 294 car­ries through 11 games eclipses the mark set by his former team­mate Trey Davis (2,129 yards on 309 car­ries in 12 games last year).

“It feels good,” said Owens, who ran 42 times and scored twice in Fri­day’s 21-7 win over Wilde Lake. “I credit all of my suc­cess to the of­fen­sive line. I can’t do any­thing with­out those guys. It feels good to have that mile­stone.”

Glad­i­a­tors coach Butch Schaf­fer cred­ited the hard work Owens put in dur­ing the off­sea­son, but, like Owens, knows the of­fen­sive line — which in­cludes Dakota Davis, TraeFolk­man, Alex Med­ley, Co­ryWil­son, Owen Kaiser and Brian Doughty — is a dom­i­nant group that has car­ried the team all year.

“It’s a big com­pli­ment to the run­ners and the guys up front. To have two 2,000-yard rush­ers in back-to-back years is a pretty good tes­ta­ment to the hard work of our guys,” Schaf­fer said.

Owens, who moved up from ju­nior var­sity for the play­offs last sea­son, has scored 25 touch­downs this fall. He av­er­ages 7.58 yards per carry and 202.6 yards per game. Paving the way: Howard’s of­fen­sive line has also been a key to its suc­cess this fall, paving the way for the Lions run­ning backs to av­er­age 7.5 yards per carry.

An­drew Chal­fant, Dustin Robin­son, Noah Os­borne, Matt Burn­stein, Alan Gour­ney, John Vil­lella and Daniel Blades opened holes for run­ning back Devin Dawkin­sto av­er­age18.1yards per carry in the Lions’ 41-14 win over Bel Air on Fri­day night in the Class 4A North re­gional semi­fi­nals.

For the sea­son, Dawkins av­er­ages al­most a first down per carry for the Howard County cham­pi­ons. He has run for 1,771 yards on 194 car­ries for an av­er­age of 9.1 yards. DJ Howard av­er­ages 8.1 yards and Robert Ag­bal 7.6. They’re the only three Lions to run more than 25 times. By the num­bers: Here’s a look at some of the other stats that stood out from the first weekend of public school play­offs and the fi­nal weekend for most pri­vate school teams:

2: Straight years Broad­neck has up­set an un­beaten Old Mill team in the play­offs

8: Re­ceivers who caught passes in Franklin’s 39-0 win over Dun­dalk — four caught touch­down passes

51: Play­off vic­to­ries by Dunbar, the most in state tour­na­ment his­tory

209: Yards rush­ing by An­napo­lis’ Cameron Hough on 20 car­ries with three touch­downs in a 45-27 win over North Point

330: Yards gained by McDonogh quar­ter­back De­Juan El­lis, who ran for 214 yards and four touch­downs and threw for 116 yards in a 42-6 win over Gil­man


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