In 12th-ranked Randallstown's 32-13 win yesterday, neither the field's slick surface nor visiting Dulaney could stop Baltimore County's "best backfield" tandem.
That's the label used by running back Devin Johnson (13 carries, 233 yards, three touchdowns), who combined with Lance Jackson (15, 120, two) to carry the Rams through their seventh straight win since losing, 24-6, to No. 2 Dunbar.
"Devin's the speed -- he runs a 4.4 [40-yard --]. I'm the hammer, breaking tackles up the middle," said Jackson.
Said Johnson: "Look around. No one else does what we both can do. We've got to have the county's best backfield."
Johnson had scoring runs of 77, 48 and 36 yards, and Jackson runs of 41 and 10. Jackson (fumble recovery) also aided a defense that came through at critical moments, led by Felix Buchannon (interception), and Ross Lusco, Kenneth Williams and Korey Campbell, each with a sack.
"We brought Lance along slowly, giving him the ball 15 times in the first three games," said first-year coach James Carpenter. "We had some serious line problems early on, but they've really ** come around."
And it seems like the perfect time for Randallstown (7-1 overall, 7-0 in county 3A-4A), which has sole possession of first place in the county and in the 3A North Region ahead of No. 10 C. Milton Wright. Wright coach Steve Harward scouted the game from Dulaney's sidelines.
Maryland awards eight playoff berths: Four automatic bids to teams with the most state points in each of four regions, and at-large or wild-card bids to the next four highest-rated teams based on points. Randallstown entered the weekend as the fourth seed.
Dulaney (5-3, 5-2) led, 7-6, after a first-period 75-yard kickoff return by Jeff Thomas, and trailed, 14-13, after Sean Schroeder returned the opening kickoff of the second half 85 yards. But for the Lions (144 total yards), it was a case of blown opportunities.
"We'd keep marching up the field, but we took the wind out of our sails by dropping passes, or hurting ourselves with penalties," said offensive coordinator Ron Meehan, assistant to Jeff Mann and a former Towson State quarterback.
In the second quarter, two passes from Cliff Berger (7-for-22, 46 yards) were dropped inside the Rams' 20 on promising scoring drives that fizzled -- one by Hanibel Gnahoi at the 7, and the other by Carson Yoder near the 16.