The defense of No. 11 Edmondson was never in question heading into Friday's Class 2A state semifinal. On this night, however, the Red Storm had no answer for freshman quarterback Devin Butler of Prince George's County's Frederick Douglass.
Butler threw for four touchdowns — including strikes of 12, 56 and 64 yards to 6-foot-4 senior Paul Harris III — and ran for another as the Eagles scored the game's first 26 points on their way to a 34-20 win over Edmondson at Poly.
"I told our guys we wanted to start fast, keep the pressure on them and try to make them one-dimensional," Douglass coach J.C. Pinkney said. "But Edmondson was here last year, and they didn't quit."
The Eagles (12-1) advance to face Middletown in the Class 2A state final, scheduled for next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium.
It marks the second straight year in which Edmondson (11-2) advanced to the state semifinals only to suffer a lopsided loss. A year ago, the Red Storm fell to eventual state champion Middletown, 48-8.
This time, despite 175 yards of rushing on 19 carries by senior Hakeem Holland, Edmondson found itself behind, 26-0, early in the third quarter. Despite gaining 306 yards of total offense, the Red Storm time and again hurt its own cause with three turnovers.
More importantly, however, Edmondson had trouble stopping the powerful triple-option offense. Led by Butler, a 6-foot-2 freshman, the Eagles racked up 402 yards.
Butler finished with 169 yards passing and another 76 on the ground.
Douglass broke on top late in the first half.
After efficiently moving the ball on the ground for several plays, the Eagles took the lead when Butler threw deep toward the corner of the end zone. The ball was tipped by a defensive back before falling into the arms of receiver Marc Dickens for a 23-yard touchdown.
The Red Storm, meanwhile, managed little on offense, going three-and-out on its next two possessions before Butler rolled left, faked the scramble, and fired to Harris in the far corner of the end zone to increase the lead to 12-0.
Butler again struck gold on Douglass' next possession, hitting Harris on a deep ball down the left side for a 56-yard score. Following the two-point conversion, the Eagles increased their lead to 20-0 with 43 seconds left in the half.
Butler finished the first half 5-for-7 for 105 yards and three touchdowns, but
he wasn't finished.
After recovering Eric Tate's fumble, Butler took another shot downfield, this time finding Harris deep down the right side for a 64-yard score with 8:13 left in the third.
"We knew if we played behind it would make it harder on us," Butler said. "Once we got the lead, it gave us more of a cushion."
Class 2A state semifinals
Douglass-PG6 14 14 0 -- 34
Edmondson0 0 8 12 -- 20
D-Dickens 23 pass from Butler (Pass failed)
D-Harris 12 pass from Butler (Run failed)
D-Harris 56 pass from Butler (Butler pass to Gibbons-Hall)
D-Harris 64 pass from Butler (Run failed)
E-Moody 2 run (Eaton pass to Stewart)
D-Butler 1 run (Wood run)
E-Holland 7 run (Pass failed)
E-Sassafrass 21 pass from Eaton (Run failed)