Catonsville High went on the road Friday night, for fifth time in the past six games, knowing exactly what lies ahead in its quest for a postseason playoff berth.
The Comets, who were tied for the fourth and last playoff spot with Blake after five games in the Class 4A North Region, knew they had to run the table to have a good chance of getting back to the playoffs, a year after they waltzed in with a 10-0 regular-season mark.
A stumble in any game and they would need major help to reach the postseason.
They faced winless Eastern Tech (0-6), at the Community College of Baltimore County-Essex, without some key players due to injury, but Catonsville still pulled away for a 30-7 victory and improved to 4-2.
Leading rusher and starting safety DeAndre’ Lane, who will play at the University of Maryland next season, was out with a hamstring injury suffered last week in a loss to Hereford.
Lane gained 1,724 yards and scored 21 touchdowns and was named to the All-County First Team last year.
The Comets also were without starting defensive backs Delray Ragland and Dom Johnson.
But, the injuries didn’t stop the rest of the ‘next man up’ Comets from producing against the young Mavericks.
Catonsville senior tailback Joseth Hylton set the tone offensively in the first quarter, scoring on touchdown runs of four and 40 yards and Comet quarterback Justin Sprankle connected on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Teddy Crayton early in the second quarter as the Comets built a 21-0 lead.
Garrett Wack kicked all three extra-points and added his first field goal of the season — from 27 yards on the last play of the half.
TJ Henry, Julian Singletary, Norris Holloway, Cheldon Simon, Marvin Lambert and Devin Ray were also stellar defensively along with the retooled secondary that included Nigel Minter, Keon Webb, Tyrone Ali and Hylton.
Eastern Tech’s defense did stop the Comets twice on downs in the first half and they were led in the half by James Rogers (7 tackles), Charles Rice and Scott Dengler (5 tackles each).
The Comets rushed for 201 yards in the first half and Sprankle threw for 27 more.
Hylton, who had 150 of his 169 yards rushing in the first half, added his third touchdown of the game on a 5-yard run for the Comets final points.
"He (Hylton) has answered the call all season and we really needed him this week to carry most of the load which he did and he did a great job," Catonsville coach Rich Hambor said.
Singletary added 41 yards rushing and Webb contributed a 20-yard run in the first half.
Reserve Andre Henderson had the biggest rush in the second half — a 52-yard gain.
Eastern Tech's Chuckie Trentler scored with 20 seconds left in regulation for the Mavericks' only score.
Catonsville plays three of the next four games at home, beginning with Towson (1-4) on Friday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.
They go on the road to Milford Mill (5-0) on Saturday, Oct. 13, before returning home on Oct. 19 against Kenwood (2-3) and Oct. 26 against Parkville (4-1).
"We control a little bit of our destiny by winning," Hambor said. "Next week, we are back home against Towson for the first time in what seems like forever and if we win that one-game season, I think we'll be alright."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun