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Catonsville football celebrates homecoming with win over Woodlawn

Catonsville's Brian Taylor helped the ground game on offfense and his three interceptions on defense led the Comets to a 20-8 win over Woodlawn.
Catonsville's Brian Taylor helped the ground game on offfense and his three interceptions on defense led the Comets to a 20-8 win over Woodlawn. (Staff photo by Nicole Munchel)

The Catonsville High football team couldn't have picked a better way to treat the homecoming crowd on Thursday night as the Comets played a complete game on defense, offense and special teams and defeated visiting Woodlawn, 20-8.

Defensively, the Comets (4-3) had seven sacks and five interceptions and held the Warriors (4-3) to just 103 total yards from scrimmage, including only nine in the second half.

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Tavon Lofties led the sack brigade with five and Nate Merrill and Antwan Pearson each added one.

"I was hungry," said Lofties, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound senior. "Some of the plays I was beating them at first, but then they started getting on me so I had to use some of the swim moves or rips so I could get right past them and that's how I got the sacks."

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While he was eating up quarterback James Keaton, defensive back Brian Taylor was gobbling up passes as he hauled in three interceptions in the second half.

"They kind of had us the first half or so, but we kind of got ourselves together at halftime and we just did phenomenal from then on," Taylor said.

Woodlawn's offense did put a scare into the Comets, but not until they trailed 14-0.

Catonsville's first drive went 60 yards in a methodical 11 plays.

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They ran the ball on 10 plays with Evan Rhodes (25 carries, 95 yards) doing most of the work.

The one pass was an 8-yard pop pass from junior quarterback Danny Terzi to tight end Danny Bruno on third and six at the 33.

Rhodes scored three plays later on a 7-yard run behind fullback Daa'ron "Ya Ya' Williams.

Woodlawn's Karon Scott blocked the extra point.

Catonsville kicker Garrett Wack ended up kicking off 10 yards deeper because of a pair of penalties, but he drilled a long squibber inside the 10 and the Warriors started from its own 25.

They moved to the 25 after a 40-yard run by Deqwon McLaughlin, but a third-down sack by Lofties forced a fourth and 22 and Keaton's 20-yard pass completion was two yards short.

Four plays later, Terzi connected with Jamal Johnson on a fly pattern down the sideline for a 71-yard touchdown.

"I was looking for him the whole time," Terzi said. "I saw the corner was playing him to the inside and he made one move to the outside and I threw it up to him, he got it and he did the rest."

Johnson had eight catches and a touchdown five days earlier in a 20-12 loss to Milford Mill and has 23 receptions for a team-high 401 yards and four touchdowns.

This one was a momentum changer.

"It feel great," said Terzi, who has thrown for eight TDs and completed 55 of 112 passes for 698 yards. "It just lifts the whole chemistry of the team up and the defense comes out and they play great too."

Against Woodlawn, he connected on 7 of 10 for 134 yards and two touchdowns.

"They (Terzi and Johnson) have started to click as the year has gone on," Catonsville coach Rich Hambor said. "Early in the year Danny didn't really have a feel and he's really got the timing down now for all the routes our wideouts are running."

After Terzi connected with Johnson on the bomb, he found his other favorite receiver, Antwan Pearson, for a two-point conversion, making it 14-0 with 10:09 left in the first half.

Woodlawn responded one play after a Comet fumble when Keaton connected with wide receiver Devin Dixon for a 37-yard scoring strike with 3:56 left in the half.

Another Catonsville fumble, returned 33 yards by Karon Scott, led to a Warrior drive that included 31 yards on a screen pass to Tyree Nesmith that moved the ball to the Comet six-yard line.

That's where Catonsville's defense made the key stand of the night.

On first down, Keaton lost 10 yards when Pearson tackled him on a designed sweep.

Keaton's no. 18 jersey was ripped in half on the play and reserve quarterback Jamal Miller-Marshall was sacked for a 9-yard loss on the next play.

Keaton returned wearing no. 24 and was intercepted by Trey Glover on the next play.

"This is the best game where our 11 defensive players are doing the one job we are asking them to do," Hambor said.

The second half belonged to the defense, but Terzi shone once more when he connected with Pearson for a 30-yard touchdown on the second fourth down conversion of the drive.

Pearson, who has 21 catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns, outleaped his defender at the five and skipped into the end zone.

Wack's booming kickoffs and the Comet defensive pressure did the rest.

"Wack is one of the best kickers in the county and one of the best kickers we've had since I've been here," Hambor said.

Lofties couldn't stop praising the defense.

"I'm proud of my defense," he said. "Everybody knew what they were doing and I knew what I was doing. Everybody had pressure, Everybody was staying on their man. It was a great win."

Winning after the team held a pep rally earlier in the day made it even sweeter for coach Hambor.

"The kids took care of everything," he said. "They ran the whole pep rally. I'm very proud of them, the whole school, they did a great job today."

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