Mervo rides its momentum to a historic upset
Win over Sherwood team’s 1st playoff victory; Glenelg’s Owens sets rushing record
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