Todd Edmondson has personal experience with being considered a heavy underdog.
In 2014, his first year coaching North Carroll’s football team, Edmondson guided the Panthers to an 8-2 record and a home playoff game. NC hosted Allegany, a traditional Western Maryland stalwart, and put together a 96-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter to win 17-14.
“Nobody gave us a chance in that game, either,” said Edmondson, comparing North Carroll's win with the challenge that lies ahead for his Century squad.
The Knights (6-4) earned the No. 4 seed in the Class 2A West playoffs, giving them a road matchup with unbeaten Damascus on Friday night at 7. The top-seeded Hornets have won 52 consecutive games, a record for Maryland public schools, and are two-time reigning 2A state champions with three titles in as many years.
Century’s second-year coach got North Carroll into the playoffs in each of his two years in Hampstead. He spent the fall of 2016 on South Carroll’s staff before taking over the Knights’ program in 2017.
Century improved on its 4-6 record from a year ago, and Edmondson said making the playoffs is an accomplishment despite losing to rival Liberty 7-0 and missing out on a chance to win the Carroll County Athletic League championship.
“It has been an up-and-down year, a good, solid year,” Edmondson said. “I’m proud of the kids’ effort, and this is just a rewarding thing for them. It’s kind of a recharge after the [Liberty] game, hit the reset button. We have an opportunity, and we’re going to prepare to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Damascus’ success has centered around TD Ayo-Durojaiye, a 6-foot, 190-pound senior with 759 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. Ayo-Durojaiye also has three interceptions as a safety, two of which he returned for touchdowns, as well as three punt returns for scores.
The Hornets are far from a one-player team, however — junior defensive end Bryan Bresee (6-5, 230) is considered one of the nation’s top recruits in the Class of 2020.
Running back JT Schneider and tight end Aaron Wolcott, both seniors, have seven touchdowns apiece. Schneider leads the Knights with 779 yards (third most in Carroll), while Wolcott has 22 catches for 493 yards.
Landon Bruce, a sophomore, chips in with 390 rushing yards. Seniors Charlie Hackett and Jalen Stanton have combined for 246 yards on the ground, and Stanton has a team-high 26 receptions.
Senior quarterback Brett Kropinski is second in the county with 1,344 passing yards to go with 13 TDs.
Edmondson said Century won’t waver going on the road for its playoff matchup.
“That’s not in our DNA. We’re not going to fear anybody,” he said. “We’re 0-0. We’ve got a spot in the dance. We know the opponent, and we’re going to do our best to prepare to win the game on Friday night.”