Sherrod Hawkes and his Patterson teammates tried not to let it dominate their thoughts leading up to Saturday’s Class 2A North regional semifinal football game at Randallstown, but they sure wanted the chance to see Dunbar next week.
The Clippers wasted no time setting up another meeting with their Baltimore City rival, jumping out to a 24-point lead over the Rams in less than eight minutes and cruising to a 43-0 win.
Hawkes ran for 203 yards on 10 carries and scored three touchdowns. The Clippers (8-3) also converted four of Randallstown’s seven turnovers for scores. Brenden Williams picked off a couple of passes, and Arnoldo Rivera grabbed an interception and recovered a fumble.
Williams’ 95-yard interception return gave the Clippers a 37-0 lead and started a running clock with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
At that point, the Clippers probably couldn’t keep Dunbar off their minds.
“That’s a lot of motivation. Get another chance,” Hawkes said of the opportunity to avenge a 42-6 loss to the Poets on Sept. 27. “That’s what we wanted right here.”
Dunbar defeated Carver on Friday night to earn its berth in the 2A North final, and will host the Clippers next weekend. The Poets won seven of the past nine Class 1A state championships, including the last three, before moving to 2A this fall. Patterson won its last regional title in 2004 and is still looking for its first state title.
On Saturday, with Dunbar alumnus and St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin in the crowd, the Clippers jumped on Randallstown (9-2) right away. On the Rams’ third play from scrimmage, Victor Banks III picked off Darryl Pratt’s pass and ran it back 37 yards with just 1:04 gone on the clock.
Mautice Greene added a 22-yard scoring run. Randallstown fumbled on its next drive, Shawn Boyd recovered for the Clippers and, three plays later, Hawkes ran it in from 24 yards out. Patterson added two-point conversions on all three touchdowns: two runs by Ali Atif Jr. and a pass from Kennard Pugh to Donnell White for a 24-0 lead with 4:05 left in the first quarter.
Santwon Pope celebrated his birthday by picking off another pass with seconds left in the first quarter, and Hawkes scored on a 79-yard run 20 seconds into the second for a 30-0 lead.
Both teams went three-and-out before the Rams’ Rob Jones Jr. blocked a punt and sparked life into the offense. The Rams went from their 45-yard line to Patterson’s 27 but turned it over on downs. In the middle of the drive, Pratt completed a 27-yard pass to Corey Whitlock that would have given the Rams first-and-goal at the 3, but a holding penalty negated it.
The Rams had another drive going early in the third quarter, reaching Patterson’s 3-yard line, but Williams picked off Pratt and raced 95 yards for the 37-0 lead. Hawkes added the finishing touch with a 47-yard scoring run 10 seconds into the fourth quarter.
“I was able to get those (long runs) because of my front line,” Hawkes said. “They’ve been working hard all day every day in practice getting to their spots and I’ve been getting to my spots, and lately every game I get the touches, I’m going to score.”
The Rams, making their first playoff appearance since 2004, struggled to generate offense with the turnovers and penalties that cost them some key plays.
“We spotted them three touchdowns and dug ourselves a tremendous hole. It was just hard to come back from that,” Rams coach Ray Wright said.
“I thought we showed a lot of heart and determination the second quarter and the first part of the third quarter to make the game respectable, but we blew some golden opportunities in the red zone, and untimely interceptions just deflated us to the point where they put the game away for good, but I’m real proud of our accomplishments — 9-1 and [Baltimore County Division III] champs, lots of seniors on the All-Division, All-County teams.”
P 24 6 7 6 -- 43
R 0 0 0 0 -- 00
P—Banks 37 int. return (Ali run)
P—Greene 22 run (Ali run)
P—Hawkes 24 run (White pass from Pugh)
P—Hawkes 81 run (kick failed)
P—Williams 95 int. return (Pugh kick)
P—Hawkes 55 run (run failed)