Regional championship football previews
Aberdeen's Maurice Harris sacks North Harford quarterback Ryan Stinar during their regular-season meeting won by the Hawks, 38-12, Sept. 30. (Matt Button, Patuxent Publishing / September 30, 2011)
(For the full schedule, click here.)
No. 8 Catonsville (11-0) at No. 5 Poly (11-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Region: 4A North
Coaches: Rich Hambor, Catonsville; Roger Wrenn, Poly
Last meeting: First meeting ever
Outlook: Only a handful of teams make it through a season undefeated, so a regional final involving two teams with perfect records is a rarity. Poly, hoping to deliver coach Roger Wrenn his first state title before he retires at the end of this season, is the Baltimore City Division I champion. The Comets won the Baltimore County Class 4A-3A title.
In Poly’s 5-21 regional semifinal win over Perry Hall, the Engineers rolled up 433 yards of offense. Hambor said the toughest challenge for his team will be defending against a multifaceted Engineers’ offense and the wrinkles Wrenn uses to throw the opposition off balance. The Comets, who beat Perry Hall, 32-23, in the second game of the season, have their own offensive variety, although they are led by running back DeAndre Lane, who has 17 touchdowns and 1,385 yards rushing.
Catonsville used big plays and clutch drives to beat Paint Branch, 30-28, in the regional semis. Lane’s 17-yard touchdown run gave the Comets a 30-21 lead, and after Paint Branch retaliated, the offense chewed up the remaining 7:37 to preserve the win.
The Engineers scored more points in their regional semifinal than they had in a game all season. Jamal Chapell ran for three touchdowns and quarterback Darrell Milburn ran for one and threw for another.
Poly, which has been to the playoffs 10 times, is looking for its first trip to the state semifinals since 1997 and made its only appearance in the title game in 1993. Catonsville has been to the playoffs five times – all since 2004 – but has never made it to the state tournament.
North Point (9-2) at No. 3 Old Mill (11-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Region: Class 4A East
Coaches: Ken Lane, North Point; Chad McCormick, Old Mill
Last meeting: Old Mill won, 24-0, in 2009
Outlook: When these teams met in 2009, Old Mill was on its way to its first state championship. The Patriots have a much longer playoff history than the Eagles, qualifying for the regionals for a 15th time as opposed to four for the Eagles, but that is mainly because North Point, in Waldorf, is much newer, fielding a varsity team only for the last five years.
While the Patriots were beating South River, 41-7, in last week’s regional opener, North Point notched the first football playoff victory in school history, knocking off then-No. 6 Arundel, 38-21. In the previous two years, the Eagles had lost to either Old Mill or Arundel in the regional opener. The Patriots, who lost to Broadneck in last year’s regional playoffs, got three rushing touchdowns from Rob Chesson last week against the Seahawks as the senior boosted his season total to 39.