When Edgewood’s football team beat Franklin on Friday night, the players talked about the program winning its first playoff game since the 1970s. However, the Rams had actually never won a playoff game.
When the Rams played in the state semifinals in 1979, the tournament structure was different and only four teams advanced. There were no regional playoffs, so the top teams went straight to the state semifinals. Edgewood lost that game and its next six playoff games, before defeating the Indians, 20-8, in the Class 3A North regional semifinal.
Quarterback Antwan Banks, a transfer from Kenwood and a converted slot receiver, scored all three touchdowns in the road win. The third-seeded Rams (8-3) now head to top-seeded and No. 8 Milford Mill (10-1) on Saturday at 1 p.m. for a chance to end their long state-semifinal drought.
While Mike Johnson’s 33-yard pass to Reyshawn Ivery-Gardner jump-started the Rams offense, Johnson said he knew that, “just like all season,” Banks would score after the trick play put the Rams on the Franklin 18-yard line early in the second half. The junior ran the ball in on the next play.
Banks leads the team in rushing with 1,544 yards on 126 carries with 20 touchdowns as the Rams average 321 rushing yards. He’s also thrown for 1,085 yards and seven touchdowns.
Johnson credits the Rams’ success to “the evolution of my quarterback. He’s really grown up. He came here and played quarterback and led this team to the playoffs and I’m really proud of him and I’m proud to call him my quarterback.”
Milford Mill senior’s quarterback play gives promising youngster time to grow: Millers senior Brandon Savage hadn’t played quarterback since youth football when coach Reggie White needed him to take over the position early in the season.
White had pegged freshman Rishon Holmes to start at quarterback, but the youngster lacked a little arm strength and needed time to adjust to the varsity level, so White called on his veteran defensive back to step in.
Savage never blinked.
“He ran with it,” White said. “He has a big arm and he’s one of those guys who takes a lot of coaching. He’s just locked in. Everything kind of slows down for him on the field. He’s an athlete, so he has that kind of aggressiveness and he has a high football IQ.”
Savage has college scholarship offers as a defensive back, where he has three interceptions and six pass deflections this fall. He’s also thrown for 1,227 yards and 11 touchdowns with three interceptions, and has run for 368 yards and six touchdowns for Baltimore County’s Division I champions.
His ability and willingness to play the position has given Holmes time to grow, said White, who considers his freshman the Millers’ future leader. The coach tries to get Holmes onto the field as much as possible, playing him at wide receiver and on special teams as well as at backup quarterback, where he’s played in seven games.
In Saturday’s 46-14 win over C. Milton Wright in the Class 3A North regional semifinal, Holmes scored three touchdowns — one passing, one receiving and one rushing.
“He’s grown in leaps and bounds right in front of my eyes,” White said. “He’s got some athletic ability and he’s just going to grow watching Brandon play quarterback and not being pressured to play the position.”
Havre de Grace’s Sean Greeley making up for lost time: Last fall, Warriors middle linebacker Sean Greeley suffered a partially torn MCL and sat out six games. He returned to help his team reach the Class 1A state final, but coach Brian Eberhardt said he would have had a “phenomenal season” had the injury not occurred.
This fall, Greeley has proved that was probably true.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior made 217 tackles during the regular season — 21.7 per game. Even though he played only half the game as the Warriors (10-1) beat Col. Richardson, 56-6, in last Friday’s Class 1A East regional semifinal, he remained on pace with five solo tackles and six assists. He also had a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown.
A four-year starter who also plays lacrosse for the Warriors, Greeley has draw the attention of Division I college coaches, including those at Maryland and Temple, Eberhardt said. He’s also been selected to play in the Maryland Crab Bowl.
“He’s typically the fastest kid on the field,” Eberhardt said. “His speed really sets him apart. The fact that he’s a four-year varsity linebacker, he sees a lot of stuff happening in front of him. The game’s slowed down for him and he’s almost always in the right spot. If he’s not, his speed lets him get there a whole lot faster than most people.”
By the numbers
4 — Rushing touchdowns scored by Westminster running back Jaden Louis in Friday’s 58-18 win over Watkins Mill, nearly doubling his season total to 10
11 — Baltimore area’s longest active winning streak — by St. Frances, Howard, Broadneck and Harford Tech
53 — Playoff wins in Dunbar’s history, more than any other program in Maryland
215 — Yards rushing by Atholton running back Melvin Brown on 23 carries with two touchdowns in a 43-7 win over James M. Bennett on Friday