After Edmondson safety Laqwan Moody picked off a Douglass pass with 21 seconds to go to seal Saturday's 14-10 playoff victory for the Red Storm, he didn't want to say much about the win other than that it was "unfinished business."
For the No. 12 Red Storm, which reached the state semifinals last season, a state title to match the program's first crown in 2006 is the ultimate goal and they took a big step in that direction at Poly. They will host Dundalk in the Class 2A North region final next weekend after beating one of their toughest Baltimore City opponents for the second time this fall.
The Ducks (7-4) had lost only to three ranked teams -- Edmondson, No. 7 Dunbar and No. 14 Milford Mill -- by a total of 12 points. Even though the Red Storm (11-0) had a 14-0 lead late in the fourth quarter, the Ducks showed they were still in the game.
After their defense stalled a Red Storm drive on the Douglass 45 with less than four minutes to go, they blocked the punt and Brandon Oliver recovered on the Edmondson 15. Two plays later at quarterback, Oliver hit Shaquille Woodland-Hunt with a 15-yard touchdown pass and Oliver ran the conversion to pull within 14-8 with 2:56 to go.
A penalty on the ensuing kickoff pinned Edmondson inside its own 10-yard line and it managed to gain only two yards. The Red Storm took a safety instead of punting, but that strategy almost backfired when the long snap was fumbled. However, the ball went out of the back of the end zone before any of the Douglass players could possess it. Still the Ducks were within 14-10 with 21 seconds to go and they were getting the ball back.
The Ducks' hopes, however, ended on their first play from scrimmage when Moody picked off Oliver's pass with nine seconds to go.
"Coach told me to keep my composure in back and make a play," Moody said. "I read the quarterback's eyes, he looked left and I moved right and I picked the ball off."
Early on, the teams were locked in a defensive standoff that came as no surprise to Edmondson coach Dante Jones or Douglass coach Elwood Townsend.
"That's the kind of games you're going to get when Edmondson and Douglass play each other," Townsend said. "The kids know each other and it's become such a rivalry."
The Red Storm got on the board first when quarterback Tyjuan Eaton hit Jaleel Sassafrass with a 46-yard touchdown pass with 36 seconds left in the first half. Both teams came up empty on a couple of long drives after the break before a blocked Douglass punt set Edmondson up on the Ducks' 21-yard line.
Marcellus Pack ran for five yards before Hakeem Holland raced 13 yards around the left side. Holland then scored on a 3-yard run. He headed to his left before a wall of Ducks forced him to turn around and run all the way to the right corner of the end zone.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Moody grabbed his first interception at the Ducks' 38, but the Red Storm could not convert. They added a safety with 9:13 to go to pull ahead, 14-0.
Edmondson's defense did a stellar job of shutting down the Ducks' passing game, one of the key elements in their improvement from 3-7 last season.
"Our line wasn't protecting like we needed them to," Townsend said, "so we had to try to find something that we can gain the edge on them on. It worked sometimes. It didn't work sometimes. But we had some big penalties on some big plays."
No. 14 Milford Mill 47, North Harford 30: Already leading by 11 points with less than two minutes remaining, Milford Mill's Mike Jones scored on an 80-yard touchdown reception to give the host Millers a 47-30 victory over North Harford in the Class 3A North regional semifinals.
Jones also caught a 14-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter for Milford Mill. North Harford quarterback Nic Hammer rushed for three touchdowns in the loss. The Millers will travel to play Franklin in the 3A North regional title game next weekend.
[Dewey Fox, Baltimore Sun Media Group]
No. 12 Edmondson 14, Douglass 10
D 0 0 0 10 -- 10
E 0 6 6 2 -- 14
E—Sassafrass 46 pass from Eaton (run failed)
E—Holland 3 run (run failed)
D—Woodland-Hunt 15 pass from Oliver (Oliver run)
D--SafetyCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun