Previewing Saturday's state high school football finals

The Baltimore Sun

Class 1A

No. 14 Douglass (13-0) vs. Fort Hill (13-0)

When: Saturday, noon

Where: M&T Bank Stadium

TV: WNUV-54, WDCW-50

Coaches: Elwood Townsend, Douglass; Todd Appel, Fort Hill

Outlook: Douglass, which won the first playoff game in school history this season, faces a team with a rich state tournament history. The Sentinels, from Cumberland, have been to the state final eight times and won their second title in 1997. In a classification dominated for the last decade by Dunbar, which moved up to Class 2A this year, the Ducks have relied on defense to reinforce their drive to the final. They've allowed only 69 points and have 20 interceptions (six by Davon Monette) and 15 forced fumbles (four by Donyae Moody). In their last two playoff games, they've forced 13 turnovers. However, the Sentinels will be a challenge with a huge line and two running backs, DaKarai Darr and Ty Johnson, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards each. Fort Hill has allowed twice as many points as the Ducks, but they have also scored 608 points — 123 more than Douglass. In the playoffs the Sentinels outscored the opposition, 137-13, and no game was close. The Ducks outscored their playoff opponents, 142-27, but needed double overtime to edge Edmondson, 20-14, in the regional final.

Class 2A

Middletown (13-0) vs. Patuxent (13-0)

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Where: M&T Bank Stadium

TV: WNUV-54, WDCW-50

Coaches: Kevin Lynott, Middletown; Steve Crounse, Patuxent

Outlook: Middletown was the only Maryland defending champ to advance to its title game and carries a Goliath-like resume into the matchup: 35-straight wins, five-straight semifinal appearances and nine-straight playoff berths. The Knights are led statistically by running back Brad Rinehart, who has 1,173 yards and 23 touchdowns on 164 carries. Patuxent will match Middletown's Rinehart with a senior running back of their own in Rafiq Douglas, who ran for 146 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-8 semifinal win over Patterson. The 6-1 bruiser is a part of a Panthers running attack that averaged 322.2 yards per game entering the 2A semifinals. Middletown has only been held under 40 points four times this season, with an average margin of victory of more than five touchdowns.

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