It was homecoming yesterday at Parkville, but No. 2 Randallstown put a damper on the festivities with a homecoming of its own.
Rams coach Anthony Knox returned to the sideline after a two-game suspension and his team welcomed him back with its most consistent effort of the season, routing the Knights, 52-12.
While Parkville had a marching band for its homecoming, the Rams repeatedly marched up and down the field to make their statement.
"I was back on the sidelines and it felt good being there," said Knox, who returned after serving a two-game suspension following his ejection from a game three weeks ago. "We put four good quarters together and we didn't relax."
Randallstown (7-1 overall, 7-0 in Baltimore County 3A-4A League) continually gained huge chunks of yardage with an arsenal of sweeps, reverses, flea flickers and misdirection plays.
"There wasn't anything that they did that we didn't prepare for during the week," Parkville coach Rick Zentz said. "There were no surprises. It was just a matter of our execution."
The Knights (4-4, 3-4), who have lost their past three games by an average margin of 26 points, had difficulty executing on offense, as well. Parkville fumbled four times, losing two, and was intercepted once.
More importantly, Randallstown contained senior running back Mike Hall, the state's leading rusher.
Hall, who entered the game with 1,509 rushing yards -- an average of nearly 216 yards per game -- and 20 touchdowns, was limited to a season-low 95 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries.
"We knew we couldn't completely shut [Hall] down, but you can contain him and make them beat you with something else," Knox said.
The Rams set the tone on the game's first play, when Parkville quarterback Matthew Critchfield went back to pass and defensive end Harvey Broadnax stripped him off the ball. The ball rolled back 20 yards to the Knights' 7, where Parkville recovered it.
Parkville eventually punted from its 9, and Randallstown took over for its first series on the Knights 47. The Rams efficiently drove 53 yards in 10 plays, capped by Davon Johnson's 4-yard touchdown run to make it 8-0.
The Knights answered with a seven-play, 62-yard drive, culminating with Hall's 5-yard touchdown run. Hall's run for the two-point conversion failed, and it was all Randallstown after that.
The Rams, who out-gained the Knights in total yards, 328-171, scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to extend their lead to 30-6 at halftime, and scored on the opening possession of the second half to quell any faint hopes of a Parkville comeback.
"This was a statement game," said Rams quarterback Archie Trader, who passed for three touchdowns and ran for another. "Usually we play sloppy in the first half, but this game we came out and it was like clockwork, especially on the offensive side of the ball. They scheduled us on their homecoming, and that got us extra motivated."