Senior Troy Dukes rushed for three touchdowns and the Kenwood defense bottled up Catonsville’s offense as the host Bluebirds (6-4) defeated the Comets (5-5), 38-3, in a Class 4A/3A South Region quarterfinal on Friday.
The fourth-seeded Bluebirds built a 30-0 lead by halftime and Dukes’ 42-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter and a 2-point conversion made it 38-0 and started a running clock the rest of the game.
Catonsville senior kicker Jack Krug kicked a 31-yard field goal on the game’s final play to prevent a shutout.
Kenwood will travel to face No. 1 seed Dundalk (9-0) next week in a regional semifinal.
“We just stayed on our tippy-toes, became aggressive and just played our ballgame,” said Dukes, who had touchdown runs of 4 and 5 yards in the first half.
“With a back like Troy Dukes and with an experienced offensive line like we have, that’s what we’ve done all season and it wasn’t going to change tonight,” Kenwood coach Derrick Krumholtz said.
The coach praised the offensive line play of seniors Kalia Bailey, Jamal Ashley and Amarie Hance, junior Cam Greaver and sophomore Dustin Frank.
Sean Miller opened the scoring with a 37-yard run and Duke ran in the 2-point conversion to give the Bluebirds an 8-0 lead with 10:19 left in the first quarter.
They boosted the lead to 10-0 when Jamari Ashley tackled Damon Chase for a 2-yard loss in the end zone for a safety with 3:09 left in the first quarter.
Dukes scored the next two touchdowns with the second drive being set up with a 22-yard pass from quarterback Khree Myles to Miller.
Myles added a 13-yard touchdown run with 1:31 left in the half to make it 30-0.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Khree because that’s a kid that’s been a running back his whole life and he took one for the team,” Krumholtz said. “He’s never played quarterback before. He’s just an athlete and we needed him and he stepped up and did a helluva job for us this season.”
The highlights for the Comets came on their final possession with strong running out of the backfield from senior offensive linemen Eli Beyer and Selbe Solomon.
“It’s a tradition that has been going on here for a long time,” Catonsville coach Jaren Maybin said of letting the senior linemen get a chance to tote the pigskin.
Offensive coordinator John Youngberg started the tradition in the early 1990s.
“I’m happy we got them a chance to run the ball and they were successful,” Maybin said. “They are great kids.”
Maybin’s starting offense, which was missing some key offensive cogs to injury, never got on track against a swarming Kenwood defense.
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“I feel like we were prepared, but we have been dealing with a lot of injuries and I don’t want to make a lot of excuses,” Maybin said. “They are a good football team and I wish them the best of luck the rest of their season. We have a bright future so we are excited for the offseason and next year.”